Stoke Poges Parish Council Press Release Statement to the Daily Mail Re:- Allotments

Please find below a statement from Stoke Poges Parish Council which must be published in full.

Stoke Poges is a small village with 55 allotments, all of which are heavily subsidised by the Parish Council precept. Allotment agreements comply with the Allotment Act 1922, and are regularly updated with the advice of the National Allotment Association and the Parish Council’s legal advisors.

The allotment agreements clearly state:

4.1. You may not use your allotment or any part of the allotment site for any commercial or educational use or for any activity for which you receive payment, reward or compensation.

In January 2021, the agreements were updated to clarify that only children and grand-children of the tenant were permitted on the allotments, following a vote at the Recreation and Environment Council meeting on 8 February 2021 at which a majority of Parish Councillors voted against changing the agreements to allow tenants who are registered child-minders to bring other children to the allotments under the pretence of educational purposes. This is because a registered child-minder is operating a commercial venture from which they derive a monetary benefit, and any commercial use means the tenant is in breach of 4.1 of the tenancy agreement as stated above. This has been confirmed by both the Parish Council’s legal advisors and insurers. Any use of the allotments for child-minding purposes would therefore not be covered by the Parish Council’s insurance, and the Parish Council cannot leave itself exposed to any such contingent liabilities arising from such unauthorised use.

Stoke Poges Parish Council takes its responsibilities towards the safety and welfare of its residents very seriously. In 2015, the Parish Council invested over £500,000 in a multi-use games area (MUGA) and sports and community pavilion to ensure that village football and other community groups had a safe and pleasant environment for many years to come, this facility is not for commercial use. The allotments are another Parish Council-funded resource which are available to residents of the village for private non-commercial use, as stated in the tenancy agreements.

Local councils have a responsibility to spend the Parish Precept in a responsible way to benefit the wider community and  do not have the powers or responsibility to provide accommodation for educational use.

Stoke Poges Parish Council

19th March 2021