Rules & Regulations

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    Eligibility for use of the Kemp Town Enclosures

    Eligibility to use the gardens derives from a covenant made between Thomas Read Kemp and those to whom he sold building plots in the early part of the 19th Century. The covenant offers the use of the gardens to freehold property owners on the Kemp Town Estate upon payment of an annual charge to keep the gardens in good order.

    The original covenant between Kemp and those to whom he sold house plots provided reads:

    “the full and free use for the purchasers his heirs and assigns and his and their servants and families and friends aforesaid of the lawns or pleasure grounds in the centre of the said Square and Crescent adjoining thereto…, the purchaser his heirs and assigns paying a fair and rateable proportion of the expenses of keeping the said lawns or pleasure grounds and the fences thereof…in good order and repair.”

    The benefit of this covenant runs with the land and so today’s freeholders are able, upon payment of the annual garden charge, to have access to the gardens. People whose homes are held on long leases are also able to benefit from the covenant if their freeholder pays the annual garden charge, or failing that, if they pay a garden rate directly to the Enclosures. A special rate applies to individual flat owners whose freeholder does not contribute to the gardens’ upkeep.
    The Kemp Town Estate includes all the houses fronting Chichester Terrace, Lewes Crescent, Sussex Square and Arundel Terrace. For these houses the full rate annual charge applies. In the case of houses let as flats on long leases, the charge paid by the freeholder is usually recovered from the leaseholders in the house.

    There are other eligible properties which, while not fronting upon the Estates terraces, stand upon land once part of original house plots which carry the benefit of the covenant relating to use of the gardens. Residents of these properties, usually smaller residences, are able to have the use of a key upon payment of a special reduced charge. It is thus possible that some residents of Chichester Place, Rock Grove, Church Place, Bristol Gardens, Bristol Place and Arundel Place have keys to the gardens.

    Evidence of current ownership of a freehold or long leasehold interest in an eligible property is required upon first application for a garden key. Thereafter evidence of current residence is required to upon issue of a replacement key.

    The rate of charges to all classes of contributor are set annually by the Board and approved at the AGM.


    Residents may hold gatherings in the gardens for up to 20 of their family, friends and guests, without seeking further permission from the Enclosures. This is not to be construed as permission to invite up to 20 members of the public to join you in the gardens. Other garden users have a right to expect that people admitted to the gardens are known to their hosts and that the residents hosting an event can and will take responsibility for the guests they admit to the gardens.

    Permission must be sought and obtained in advance for private parties of more than 20 people. You will need to contact the office and tell them who you are and when your event is to be held. The location of the party within the gardens, its duration, the number of guests you are inviting and the hours of the party are to be stated and approved in advance. You will be expected to take responsibility for your guests. Barbecues are not permitted anywhere in the gardens.

    There is a £100 charge for an open-air party with your own gazebo, and a £150 charge where you are bringing in either a marquee or portaloo and a £200 charge where you are bringing in both a marquee and portaloo.  The maximum duration of the party is 5 hours, finishing no later than 10pm.

    A refundable deposit of £250 is required and hosts are required to ensure that all the Bylaws and Regulations of the gardens are observed. Complaints about loud noise or anti-social behaviour will result in the deposit being forfeited.

    Parties of over 50 people are not permitted in the gardens.

    For parties requiring prior consent, please contact Grace Riach at Jonathan Rolls’ office 01273 684977. You will need to visit the office at 74 Preston Drove, Preston Park, Brighton BN1 6LB to complete the application form and write cheques for the relevant fee and deposit.

    For the comfort and safety of all garden users and the peaceful enjoyment of residents overlooking the gardens, garden users are expected to abide at all times by the regulations for the use of the gardens. Please see our Legal Disclaimers for the full rules and regulations for using the Enclosures


    From time to time over the past 190 years, the behaviour of dogs and dog walkers in the gardens has caused friction and controversy with other garden users, and it is to avoid this happening that the Enclosures has retained the right to control access for dogs. The system in place has worked well for many years despite the considerable rise in dog ownership amongst residents.

    No dogs are permitted in the North Garden. This prohibition provides a space for those who are not comfortable with dogs. It also provides a place where the risk of infection from dogs is eliminated. This is an important consideration for some parents of small children.

    In the South Garden, dogs are permitted provided they are first registered with our agent. There is a charge payable upon registration and subsequently in January each year. You will need to take the application, with a cheque or cash, to our agent’s office at 74 Preston Drove, Preston Park. You will be asked to certify that your dog has been wormed and to agree that while your dog is in the garden, it will wear on its collar the dog identity tag provided and be kept on a lead and under control. You will be asked to agree to remove any mess your dog makes (there are bins provided for the disposal of dog waste). You must accept responsibility for any problems or claims arising from your dog’s use of the gardens.

    We rely upon responsible dog owners to preserve the enjoyment of the gardens by all.

    A list of registered dogs can be found on our Dog Registry page.

    Keyholders must accompany guests in the gardens at all times

    Residents must accompany guests and are responsible for their guest’s behaviour while in the gardens at all times.

    This includes access to the gardens whether they are paying guests or not. Residents who let out their properties to holiday or short-term visitors may not loan out their keys and allow them unsupervised access to the gardens.

    Commercial Use of The Gardens

    Please note that use of the gardens for commercial purposes is not permitted. Residents may use a personal trainer, one to one, in the gardens provided that they do not make use of benches, table and trees as exercise equipment.

    Advertising on the gates

    1. Prior consent must be obtained from the managing agents, either by telephone, e-mail or in person, before any notices are attached to the gates. (This includes lost items or animals.)
    2. Notices should be no more than A4 in size, laminated and attached to the gates (not the railings) by cable ties.
    3. Notices must be promptly removed after three weeks on display.
    4. Notices displayed without prior authorisation will be removed.

    Garden Waste Bonfires

    Several times a year, a bonfire is lit in the gardens to dispose of woody waste. Bonfires produce wood smoke and this occasionally causes complaints from residents. Unfortunately, there is no viable alternative to this practice, but because of its potential for nuisance, it is kept to an absolute minimum.

    In order to reduce the amount of waste that has to be burnt, any waste that is compostable is put on heaps to rot down and form compost, except for pernicious weeds (eg ground elder, bindweed). There are three compost heaps and these are periodically turned and the compost spread to enrich the soil on flower and shrub beds.

    Pernicious weeds are piled up separately and taken away by contractors, along with any other waste that is inorganic or so damp or incombustible that it would inhibit and prolong a bonfire, causing excess smoke. This matter is taken away and disposed of by contractors using flatbed trucks once or twice a year. This costs about £600 but deals with a small fraction of what is generated.

    Arisings from tree surgery are disposed of off-site by the tree surgery contractors. Arisings from the major cutting back of hedges by the garden team are disposed of using a hired wood chipper. This is only viable for smaller diameter wood. Larger diameter wood requires a much larger, more powerful chipper. Machines of this scale are viable only for businesses needing to clear large volumes of waste daily and are able to include the cost in their charges.

    A large volume of woody garden waste accumulates which cannot be dealt with by composting or disposal by contractors. It is left for weeks to dry out and for any leaves to die so that it becomes more readily combustible. Several times a year a bonfire is lit to dispose of this residual woody waste.

    Bonfires must not be lit when the smoke might interfere with road safety on the A259 or interfere with the hospital’s ventilation system. Therefore, bonfires are lit only when the wind is blowing from the SW. Inevitably smoke will rise and drift in a North Easterly direction across the East side of Lewes Crescent and Arundel Terrace.  The Fire Brigade is notified before a fire is lit. We regret any inconvenience caused to residents.

    Ball Games

    Soft ball games are allowed in the South Gardens but are restricted to the South West corner only. Ball games are strictly forbidden in the North Garden.

    Kemp Town Enclosures Complaints procedure

    Kemp Town Enclosures Ltd is committed to managing the gardens to a high standard for the benefit of garden users and so we welcome feedback or complaints about our work. We take complaints seriously and consider them important as responses to the service that we offer.

    Complaints should be made, in the first instance, to our agents Jonathan Rolls Ltd at 74 Preston Drove, Preston Park or by telephone 01273 684977

    If the matter cannot be satisfactorily resolved informally by them, the complaint should be made in writing to the KTE Secretary c/o Jonathan Rolls Limited. The Secretary may investigate the complaint before making a report to the KTE Board. The Board’s response will be communicated to you by the Secretary. Anonymous complaints cannot be accepted.

    Health & Safety

    The Board of Directors of Kemp Town Enclosures aim to provide a safe workplace for our employees and a safe and enjoyable garden for the multiple and varied activities that users of the Enclosures (‘Users’) enjoy. To do this we need all Users to help us by behaving in a safe and sensible way.

    The Enclosures do contain hazards, as does any garden or open space. By this article, we hope to make you aware of the more obvious hazards you may come across and to remind you that some activities can be dangerous and could injure you or other Users.

    This article can not include every hazard users may come across in the Enclosures. Please do your best to prevent accidents, to yourself and others. Your Board are all unpaid volunteers who have taken on considerable liabilities, which include criminal liabilities under some of the Health and Safety Legislation, by becoming Directors of Kemp Town Enclosures Limited. Please help us to keep the Enclosures a safe as well as an enjoyable place to be.

    If you become aware of a hazard not mentioned here, or if an accident happens, please inform the Jonathan Rolls Office at 74 Preston Drove, Preston Park – Telephone 01273 684997. Alternatively, inform a gardener or any of the Directors.


    Children using the Enclosures must at all times be supervised by a responsible adult. Climbing and swinging from trees is dangerous and as well as injuries from falling could cause branches to break and fall.

    Children must not force their way through the vegetation above the tunnel as the drop is very steep in places and a fall onto the hard path leading to the tunnel could cause serious injury. We try to block paths made up here but the blockages are constantly removed or broken. Parents must not let their children play up here.

    Children run about and enjoy doing so. However, parents should appreciate that many of the paths are gravelled and a fall could cause injury. Please also remind your children often that a number of frail elderly people use the main paths and they must take care not to knock them over.

    Keep the gates closed at all times. We constantly remind users to keep the gates closed, but we cannot guarantee they will not be left open so that children may be able to get into the road. Older children who are too large should not use the play area slide and young children could fall off, of fall through the structure when climbing up so close supervision is necessary here.

    Although all dogs in the gardens should be registered and controlled on a lead sometimes users do not comply. Dog owners are required to remove their dog’s faeces, but dogs do use the gardens and urinate in them, and cats and wildlife including foxes and rabbits leave droppings. Obviously, this does pose a health hazard and children should wash their hands after playing in the Enclosures, especially before eating.

    Please ensure children do not eat any plants. Some are poisonous, such as foxglove, crocus and laburnum. There is also limited use of slug pellets and weed killers, which could be dangerous if eaten.

    Benches and tables for the gardens

    The benches and low tables around the gardens have been donated by residents, sometimes with a plaque attached dedicated to the memory of a loved one. Today we have a bench or table in virtually all the favoured spots for sitting out. The benches need to be maintained and kept in a safe condition for use by residents and visitors and the responsibility for this and the cost involved, in the absence of an endowment or further donation, falls to the Enclosures. Eventually, even a well-made hardwood bench will deteriorate beyond repair at reasonable expense and it has to be understood that eventually benches donated will be disposed of.

    It is in everyone’s interests that we do not clutter the gardens with too many benches and that those accepted are of a design that is suitable to the setting and is of a quality that will offer a long life requiring little maintenance and remain stable and safe even when moved about by residents, as they sometimes are. For these reasons only ready-made hardwood benches or tables secured with timber dowels are acceptable whereas flat-pack softwood benches or tables are not. Experience tells us that the screws of flat-pack benches rust rendering the benches unstable and that, even with the application of wood treatments, softwood rots after a few years leaving benches unsafe.

    Teak benches, for example, those sold through are suitable, particularly their Richmond bench (£300), Kensington bench (£400) and Memorial bench (£500) or the Half-Moon love seat (£400). Prices as at June 2018.

    Other teak benches or tables of similar quality can be considered. If you want to donate a bench or table, please talk to Jason Saul, our Head Gardener with whom you can discuss the proposed purchase and whether a suitable site is available.

    Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

    The Kemp Town Enclosures Ltd., wants to promote inclusivity and values diversity. It wants all garden users to be able to enjoy the gardens and be treated with respect and consideration. It also seeks to ensure that the work environment for its employees is supportive, and one where individual respect is shown to all.

    To this end KTE will treat all garden users, staff and visitors fairly and will not discriminate on the basis of their age, (dis)ability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, ethnic background, culture, sexual orientation, religion or belief, sex or socio-economic status.

    Harassment and bullying

    To secure an environment in which members of staff are able to flourish and to achieve their full potential, the Enclosures commits to ensuring that everyone is able to work and to participate in the life of the Enclosures without fear of harassment, bullying or intimidation. Everyone in the Enclosures has a part to play by ensuring that their own behaviour, whether intentional or unintentional, does not constitute harassment. The Enclosures will take action against inappropriate behaviour which shows lack of respect for others or which leads people to feel threatened.

    Kemp Town Enclosures Filming Policy

    Use of the gardens for commercial filming is permitted, with prior permission being granted on an individual project basis. Charging fees will apply.

    With the gardens being a private space for residents, filming must not interrupt the quiet enjoyment of the gardens by residents. All enquiries regarding filming projects, should be made in advance to the KTE board by email to

    Approval by the KTE Board will be required, before permission is granted.

    Residents who wish to use the gardens for filming are to make prior contact with the office with information on the proposed filming and must observe any restrictions imposed by the office for the well-being, privacy and peaceful enjoyment of the gardens by residents.


    Kemp Town Enclosures is a working garden. Where work is taking place there may be tools where they may be tripped over and others that may be sharp. The tractor and grass cutter is noisy, and moves so should not be approached too closely. Please take care not to endanger a gardener who is up a ladder. This applies especially to running children.

    Bonfires are only lit one or two times a year on still days when not many users are expected. Barriers are put up which must not be passed.

    Spraying with horticultural chemicals also takes place occasionally, again on still days when the gardens are quiet and save for the paths and the bi-annual grass treatment in very local areas. Again, keeping clear of the gardeners at work is all that is necessary.

    The stockade should not be entered at any time. The gate is padlocked when no-one is working and closed, usually with the padlock hooked through, when gardeners are working in the area. Tools and chemicals, which are dangerous to children and animals are kept within. Should any chemical be splashed on you, wash the affected area immediately with water. If any person has drunk consumed any chemical, call immediately for an ambulance and give the paramedics the can/bottle the poison was contained within.

    The paths down towards the Tunnel are uneven and can be very slippery when wet. Please take extra care here.

    BBQs are not permitted within the Kemp Town Enclosures

    There are a number of frail, elderly people using the main paths and we ask parents to remind children to avoid them where possible. We also ask elderly users to please be beware of running children.

    This article cannot include every hazard users may come across. Please do your best to prevent accidents, to yourself and others. Your Board are all unpaid volunteers who have taken on considerable liabilities, which include criminal liabilities under some of the Health and Safety Legislation, by becoming Directors of Kemp Town Enclosures Limited. Please help us to keep the Enclosures a safe as well as an enjoyable place to be.

    Please see our Legal Disclaimers for full terms and regulations for using the Enclosures.

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    Join our local community forum for Kemp Town Enclosures. We will only use your details to send you newsletters and important updates regarding the use of the Gardens and you can unsubscribe or delete your account at any time.
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    Your Board Needs You!

    Since the AGM in 2023, we have lost four key members from the Board of Directors.

    The Board therefore welcomes residents interested in joining the board to submit their CV and a statement of what their skills would contribute to the skill set of the board by the 24th of March.

    The Board would also welcome enquiries and would be happy to discuss what being a member of the Board of KTE entails,
    in advance of the submission deadline.