Three site inspections are held per year – in March, June and September. Four people go on the inspections: the plot secretary, one other committee member and two other plot-holders.
The general things inspectors look for are:
In March we want to see evidence of digging, some planting, etc.
In June we would wish to see the plot fully cultivated.
In September we expect to see the last of the summer crops, winter crops, if sown and the rest dug and/or covered over for winter.
Weed-free: we know there will always be some weeds or grasses but we do want to see a relatively weed-free plot.
Neatness: There should not be a lot of rubbish lying around or dangerous tools or other equipment out in the open.
Paths and edges: Paths should be mown and edges strimmed/cut and be relatively straight. Plots should not extend into any path. (This has been a problem in some cases where plot-holders keep digging out the path, increasing the size of their plot.) Crops should not be overhanging or extending onto paths.
Compost bins/sheds/greenhouses/polytunnels: should all be safe and in good condition and not covering more than 20% of the plot.
The inspectors have some flexibility and do make exceptions where warranted. If, for example, a plot holder took on the plot within the last month or two, we would want to see they made a good start; if we have been notified that the plot-holder is ill or injured or caring for an ill or injured partner or family member, we not only understand that the allotment would not be high priority, but the committee would try to get help to look after their plot; and, of course, we make allowances for holidays, but if someone has been away, we would hope they would sort out their plot when they returned.