Removal of the metal storage container

As announced by the City Council, on Thursday 13 October the green metal container will be removed from the site.

With this post, we would like to clarify a bit of background and outline an initial plan forward on how to manage the storage of your tools.

A bit of background

The metal storage container and the portable toilet were installed by Countryside as a temporary arrangement. The idea behind this was to keep safe and dry large valuable items, such as lawnmowers, strimmers, hedge cutters and so on.

Why this was a temporary arrangement? Because at the Community Garden a building was going to be erected, which was designed with a common storage unit to be used between the Garden and the Allotments.

The size of the container is less than 6 square meters inside, and the storage at the Community Garden is roughly 10 times more than that.

As for the temporary container, the use of the Community Garden store was intended only for bulky and valuable items. For this reason, the building was not fitted with security mechanisms to support a high-volume of users (potentially the hundreds of people that use the allotments).

Where are we now?

Countryside have completed the building of the Community Garden, and the Council is now pressing to fulfil the planning condition that the temporary container is removed once the building is available.

The Clay Farm Community Garden Group have asked Countryside and the Council for better arrangments to separate and secure potentially dangerous items in the store (chemicals, flammables, blades, power tools, etc.). However, the solution to this is still under development and discussion.

The Council has communicated that they will remove the temporary container on 13 October and that this is non-negotiable.

At the moment there are a handful of tools stored in the container, and a majority of these belong to two plot holders. So the problem seems sizeable, and we need to make sure we work with these people to meet their needs for storage.

The content of the temporary container on 6 October 2022.
The content of the temporary container on 6 October 2022

What’s the solution?

Well, there are two parts to this: a short-term and a long-term plan. This is because we need to deal with the immediacy of the container’s removal while working on a long-term plan.

Short term

To deal with the issue immediately, we have agreed with the Community Garden to two “open days” on Saturday 8 October and Sunday 9 October, both days between 10:00 and 12:00, and again between 14:00 and 16:00.

During these times, everyone will be able to go visit the store at the Community Garden and meet with a representative of the Clay Farm Community Garden Group to discuss immediate storage needs.

Ongoing access to the store will be managed from Monday 10 October by a group of trained “keyholders”. The list of these will be soon available on the Shared Resources page of the Members’ Area.

Ideally, storage at the Community Garden is only used for large items that cannot be kept in the allowed on-plot storage.

According to article 19.4 of the Allotment Rules:

The City Council will approve the installation of tool stations/stores that do not exceed the following dimensions: Height no greater than 1000mm, width no greater than 1200mm, and breadth no greater than 700mm.

Cambridge City Council Allotment Rules.

Long term

The Community Garden Group will continue to liaise with the Council to find the best solution to allow plot holders access to a pool of shared tools, as well as the most convenient and least dependent access possible to all plot holders.

As the situation evolves, we will surely keep you updated.

What if I have more questions?

We’re here for you! If you’re not a member of the Clay Farm Allotment Society, please consider becoming one. We don’t ask for any work. The fact that you become a member alone will make our voice stronger with the Council and allow us to hold meaningful conversations with them.

You can always email us at

Membership to the Society costs £4.- per year, and it includes membership to The National Allotment Society, which comes with its own benefits. If you want to be a member, but cannot afford the membership fee, please do send us an email!

A lot of time is invested by volunteers in taking care of issues like this, for the benefit of everyone. It would be great if we could be backed by as many plot holders as possible!