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Allotment holder slams council over 'through the roof' water rate rise

PUBLISHED: 17:15 15 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:15 15 October 2019

The water rates are rising for users of the Hellesdon allotment on Bush Road, Norwich. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

The water rates are rising for users of the Hellesdon allotment on Bush Road, Norwich. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

An allotment owner has criticised a parish council over an "upsetting" rise in water rates, which he claims have "gone through the roof".

The water rates are rising for users of the Hellesdon allotment on Bush Road, Norwich. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodThe water rates are rising for users of the Hellesdon allotment on Bush Road, Norwich. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

David Rowe, an allotment holder in Hellesdon, said a rise in water charges had led to upset among gardeners at the Norwich site.

The 47-year-old bricklayer, who has held a plot at the Boundary Road gardens for the past three years, said: "The water rates have gone through the roof.

"It was £20 this year per person. The total price is like £60 for the year. That's causing a bit of an upset."

Full allotment holders were charged £20 for water use at the site, compared to the £5 charge in 2017 and 2018 - making the total cost of a plot for the year a total of £61.25, while half plot holders were charged just a £10 fee.

The water rates are rising for users of the Hellesdon allotment on Bush Road, Norwich. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodThe water rates are rising for users of the Hellesdon allotment on Bush Road, Norwich. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

And the parish council hit back at the father-of-two's complaint, saying the increased water charge was due to an "exceptionally high bill" following a long, hot summer.

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Mr Rowe said the increased charge had come at a time when many allotment holders seemed to be abandoning their plots.

"Everyone seems to be giving up," he said.

"I've evaluated the situation and thought 'is it worth keeping it on' but I've got two young children and I want to show them how to grow vegetables. I think that rather than give up I should try and generate some interest.

"If more people have plots, the rate is divided among more people and would come down."

A spokesperson for Hellesdon Parish Council said: "All allotment holders were written to to explain a larger bill had been received due to the long, hot, dry summer.

"The council decided not to put the full water bill through to the allotment holders apart from a nominal charge of £20."

They added that the council had been in discussion with plot holders via the Hellesdon Allotment Holders Association (HAHA), and said: "This year the water bill really covers 2017 and 2018 and for that period it was the long, hot summer and there was an exceptionally high bill.

"They had a chance to raise it with the council if they felt it was inappropriate."

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