Allotment holders are facing a 65pc increase in their rents as City Hall bosses seek to tackle cash cuts.

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Norwich City Council has sent letters informing people rents will jump from £42.50 a year to £70 from 2013/14.

Assurances are being sought this price change will not trigger future increases or take advantage of the high-demand for the service. There are 1,665 plots, with a standard size of 250 square metres, at 18 sites, with 1,661 names on the waiting list, although this does include duplicate entries from some applicants.

The allotment rent hike from 17p per square metre to 28p is expected to increase annual income the service generates by £27,540 to £70,107.

A council spokeswoman said: “The rental increase is part of the city council’s agreed cost savings for parks and open spaces. The increase was agreed by cabinet following a city-wide consultation on a range of cost reducing/revenue increasing proposals.

“The increase in the cost of an allotment was prioritised by residents.”

Brighton, York and Bristol have been used by the authority as comparisons in an attempt to show what similar services offer at a higher cost.

The council said they chose cities “running comparable services” and to show the prices were not “out of line” with other authorities.

Brighton and Hove City Council lists its 2012/13 charges at 28p per square metre, with standard 125 square metre plots costing £35 per year, Bristol City Council’s plots vary in size and cost between £16 and £85, while York City Council’s also vary in size and cost from £10.20 concession prices to £90.50.

Norwich City Council says all of its plots will be subject to the increase, although 50pc discount will remain for people who are retired and those on benefits who hold a Go4Less card.

Ben Price, a gardener and Green Party city councillor, said he wanted assurances further price rises were not planned in the near future, although he was pleased discounts had been retained.

Mr Price, who is developing a garden share project to make more use of unused areas of land, said: “I would hope some of the money gets put towards creating more allotments and improving facilities at existing allotments rather than being a cash-saving exercise.

“I understand the cabinet has to make savings and it has gone to consultation. But it’s a short-term fix and unfortunately a lot of policies are designed in that way.

“The council was promoting healthy lifestyle two months ago with the healthy cities project and now it’s charging people more for the opportunity of achieving that healthy lifestyle.

“I think the council know they can put the price up and it will not affect demand.”

One Norwich allotment holder, who did not wish to be named, said: “At a time we are being urged to take more exercise and eat better, why are the rents going from 17p a meter to 28p?”

9 comments

  • .....Where could you rent 250sq. metres of land elsewhere at £1.35 a week?.....Farmers, they pay about 9p to the Norfolk County Council for the same, I wonder why?

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    Rhombus

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • This was very annoying. I took on my plot 2 months ago, the cost was £37.50. It was a jungle & took a lot of time just to clear it to get onto the plot. Rent then went up to £42.50 per year on the next renewal which i could live with. Then to get the letter saying its going up to £70 in one jump is disgusting. Phasing the increase in over future years would have been a bit fairer. If i hadnt spent time and money developing my plot i would have not carried it on.

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    Clearseaz

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • Norwich Labour Party is desperate to make up the shortfall in council tax receipts, due to the exemption of second homes and those left empty. They rather raise the cost to those who are already struggling and are trying to grow food.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • ingo wagenknecht if you are going to criticise the council at least get your facts right. The Labour Group are stopping second homes and those left empty from being exempt, so they will now have to pay council tax when they didn't before.

    Report this comment

    Lucy Christie

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • This is getting past ridiculous. I expect they will keep increasing the prices until they make it unaffordable and people give their allotments up. They will then sell the land off for building, perhaps that is the idea all along.

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    D. ROSS

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • Lets get some perspective here, £70 a year is just £1.35 a week. Where could you rent 250sq. metres of land elsewhere at £1.35 a week? This just highlights how ridiculously low these rents are at present - why else would there be a waiting list of over 1600 for plots?This council should be charging much higher rates for the land given such a high demand.

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    Tudor Bushe

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • My understanding is that there is now to be a designated Allotment Officer to enable allotments sites to be more efficiently managed and on that basis I would welcome the increase in rent. Hopefully, the waiting list will go down if under-used and un-used plots can be brought back into use However, any future increases should be in line with inflation

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    Joyce

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • My understanding is that there is now to be a designated Allotment Officer to enable allotments sites to be more efficiently managed and on that basis I would welcome the increase in rent. Hopefully, the waiting list will go down if under-used and un-used plots can be brought back into use However, any future increases should be in line with inflation

    Report this comment

    Joyce

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • i think they should build houses on it. patches of tatty earth that all look totally different.a nice clutch of uniform designed rabbit hutches would do very nicely.

    Report this comment

    bookworm

    Friday, September 28, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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