Friday, January 18, 2013
Allotment holders expressed relief today after the council decided against a 50pc increase in their rent this year.
Attleborough Town Council had been looking at increasing the rent from £21 a year to £31 until allotment holders expressed dismay at such a big rise when rents generally went up £1 or £2 a year.
However, at a meeting yesterday, councillors decided against the increase but in favour of a proper review of the allotments, which are subsidised by the town’s council tax payers and where people with different-sized plots currently pay the same rent.
Allotment holder Paul Clarke said: “The council decided there and then that they couldn’t do what they wanted to do and so they’re going to review it the following year.
“They were trying to put it up to £31 this year, then £41, then £51, and I wrote to them and complained because the rent normally goes up £1 or £2 a year. They invited us to the meeting where they talked about it and decided to keep the rent the same for this year. It’s a victory, at least for the time being.”
He said the council agreed to refund the six allotment holders who had already paid the extra £10.
“I’m pleased they’ve seen how special the allotments are to people, how seriously they take them and how well looked after they are,” he added.
Town mayor Sam Taylor said she visited the allotments with the town clerk and they were very impressed, but the plots varied in size and it didn’t seem fair to charge everyone the same, so last night councillors decided on a review.
“£31 a year isn’t really a lot, but £10 is quite a big increase in one go,” she said.
“But the allotments do cost the taxpayers of Attleborough and it would be nice to get them to cover their costs. When taxpayers are picking up £400 in water bills, you have to try to find a way of balancing it out. We’d like to see the allotments pay for themselves.
“We are cheap compared to other councils, so we thought we could put up the rent, but we never meant to upset anyone – we just wanted to make it fairer for everyone.”
She said they would review the allotments and try to come up with a fairer structure, and everyone would get 12 months notice of any increase.
“Ultimately, there’s going to be some sort of increase in rent.”
She added that she hoped the new allotments planned as part of the 375-home Taylor Wimpey development on London Road would have a brown-water recycling system, which would help to keep water bills down.