Regulations and Enforcement

It is a constant struggle to combine the rights of all keyholders to use and enjoy the Garden with the obligations of all to respect the enjoyment and needs of others.

Self-enforcement is the only means we have of enforcing our Garden Byelaws.

Peer pressure is the most effective form of self-enforcement.


Earl’s Court Square Garden Byelaws

Made Pursuant to the Kensington Improvement Act 1851

These Bye-Laws are intended to secure the quiet use and enjoyment of the Square Garden: those using the Garden are requested to observe them.

  1. The use of the Square Garden is reserved exclusively to Members of the Garden Committee, their families and guests and such other occupiers of adjacent houses that have been granted keys and are living in one of the four arms of the Square and such other persons as may be authorized by the Committee from time to time. However, a Member shall not at any time be accompanied by more than 14 persons as his or her guests, nor shall any Member use the Garden for commercial purposes without express permission of the committee.
  2. Only Members of the Garden Committee and those persons authorized by the committee who have a right of entrance shall be entitled to hold or possess a key of the garden gates and no person so entitled shall permit the key to be given or lent or used by any other person other than a member of his or her household.
  3. Children will only be admitted to the Garden accompanied by and at all times supervised by an authorised key holder who shall be responsible for their actions in the Garden and their compliance with these Bye-Laws.
  4. No person shall climb over the railings or gates and the gates shall not be left open at any time.
  5. No person shall climb, damage, pull up or destroy any of the trees, shrubs, plants, fencing or gates or pluck or cut the flowers in the Square Garden or break, deface or injure any of the seats or structures or wilfully cut up or injure the paths or lawns or trample on or injure the beds or place or leave any obstructions or things on the paths or elsewhere.
  6. Dogs are not permitted in the Square Garden (except guide dogs authorized by special permission of the Committee).
  7. No wheeled vehicles shall be permitted in the Square Garden other than wheelchairs, perambulators, children’s bicycles and kiddy-cars which must be kept to the paths at all times.
  8. Noisy and disorderly conduct and activities likely to annoy the residents or interfere with the quiet use and enjoyment of the Square Garden are forbidden; also transistor sets, cassettes, musical instruments and other apparatus for producing or reproducing sounds and music, unless authorized by special permission of the Committee.
  9. Litter shall only be left in the receptacles provided. No household articles shall be cleaned or dusted in the Square Garden.
  10. No balls shall be brought into the Square Garden.
  11. No fires shall be started nor any fireworks let off without the prior consent of the Committee. No barbecues apart from officially organised events e.g. the Residents’ Association barbecue.
  12. The Committee reserves the right, to amend, waive, modify or add to these Bye-Laws at any time.
  13. All persons enter the Square Garden at their own risk in all respects; neither the Committee nor any Member thereof shall be held responsible for any damage, loss or injury caused to any person or property arising from the condition of the Square Garden or its amenities or the act, neglect or default of any person.

This is a link to these byelaws.  Please print it out and keep it for future reference.

What are the procedures for making the byelaws for the garden square?

    • The 1851 Act is quite specific on this point. It provides that the garden committee or the garden sub-committee has the power to make byelaws for the proper management of the garden under their care.
    • Any rules must be properly administered and be signed by the chairman of the meeting and in the same way they may be revoked or amended.
    • The Act goes on to say that anyone who breaches such a rule commits an offence for which a penalty, not exceeding £25, may be imposed by a local magistrate but only if the rules have been "allowed" by a judge or a magistrate, who also has the power to disallow any rules if they think it appropriate.
    • Therefore in order to have proper effect, a set of new rules ought to be vetted and sanctioned by a court (in practice a magistrates' court) in order to have full force and effect.


Organisation and Operation of a Garden Square

  • The Earl’s Court Square Garden is one of the 37 Garden Squares in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea administered under the provisions of The Kensington Improvement Act 1851 (The 1851 Act).  Much of the information in this section has been taken from the RBKC website regarding garden squares.  In relation to garden squares covered by its provisions, the act provides:
    • Those liable to pay Council Tax in respect of any dwelling surrounding the square and who have been resident for at least a year, are members of the garden committee.
    • The garden committee can appoint a subcommittee.
    • The garden committee or subcommittee is exclusively responsible for the care, management and regulation of the garden.
    • Procedures for the calling and conduct of meetings of the garden committee and subcommittee.
    • The garden committee must elect a chairman who has a casting vote.
    • The garden committee and any subcommittee have the power to make byelaws for the proper management of the garden.
    • At an annual meeting, the garden committee may determine the amount of money, to be raised via an annual levy as part of the Council Tax, which is necessary to maintain and keep the garden in order; accounts of the previous year's expenditure must be produced at this meeting.
    • Those people who have the right to use the square (although the garden committee may by resolution allow others to use it).
  • Our Constitution.  The overall operations of the Garden Committee and the Garden Management Subcommittee are outlined in the 1851 Act.  However this Act is not specific with regard to more detailed aspects of the operation.  For this reason we are currently carrying on a consultation on the advisability, practicality, and modalities for drafting and adopting a Constitution for the Earl’s Court Square Garden Committee.
  • The Garden Committee.  As outlined in the 1851 Act, those liable to pay Council Tax in respect of any dwelling surrounding the square and who have been resident for at least a year, are members of the garden committee.
  • The AGM (and EGM).  The 1851 Act provides that the Garden Committee must hold an Annual General Meeting once each year.  This meeting must approve the precept for the following year, and must elect the Officers of the Committee and the members of the subcommittee to manage the Garden.  The Earl’s Court Square Garden Committee AGM is generally held in January.  When a date is selected it will be listed on the News Page of this website.  Extraordinary General Meetings may be called either by five members of the Garden Committee or by the Garden Committee Secretary.  Notices of both the AGM and any EGM must be posted on both gates of the garden at least seven days in advance of the meeting.
  • Finances
    • The Treasurer’s Report to the AGM outlines all of the financial matters regarding the operation of the Garden.
    • The Annual Precept (set by November 20 each year).  What can the money raised via the garden rate be used for? For example, can it be used for CCTV cameras, children's play equipment?  The 1851 Act charges the garden committee with the responsibility for the maintenance and improvement of the garden including keeping it "enclosed, laid out, fenced, planted, gravelled, maintained, repaired and embellished".  It would appear that the intention was therefore to be wide ranging to cover all expenses normally incurred in the maintenance of a garden at that time.  There is no legal ruling on whether such expenditure might include the provision of more modern facilities such as children's play equipment and closed circuit television systems but there are good arguments for saying that such modifications to the wording were intended when the Act was originally drafted.  The situation is therefore not clear and in those circumstances, we would recommend that the garden sub-committee sound out opinion from local residents in the square before embarking on such expenditure and including it within the budget for the garden.
    • The annual budget is agreed at the AGM.
    • Major expenditures such as tree pruning, maintenance of the paths, lighting, irrigation, the play area, etc are outlined at the AGM.  Funds are accrued annually and these expenditures are spread out over several years to try to keep the annual budget consistent.
    • We believe that the Earl’s Court Square Garden is very good value for the residents.  You can find the Council’s Garden Expenditure League Tables here.  Look at the column headed Garden Charge Band D and you will see that Earl’s Court Square has among the lowest per household garden levies in the entire Borough.
  • The Garden Management Subcommittee
    • We are a group of up to ten people elected each year at the AGM to manage the Garden on behalf of the residents.
    • Any garden rate payer who has been resident in the Square for at least a year can serve on the Subcommittee.

Relationship to the Earl’s Court Square Residents’ Association

There are two residents’ committees that are intimately concerned with the affairs of Earl’s Court Square.  This website describes the Earl’s Court Square Garden Committee.  There is also the Earl’s Court Square Residents’ Association which deals with all local affairs aside from the Garden.  The two Committees work closely together, but it is important for residents to know what their respective responsibilities are.

The Residents’ Association (ECSRA) encompasses the entire Earl’s Court Square Conservation Area.  Its Mission Statement highlights:

  • the preservation of the architectural integrity of the square
  • easing traffic and parking problems
  • the enhancement of residential amenities
  • providing social events for residents of the square.

If you would like to know more about them, please visit the ECSRA Website

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