Fury over inflation-busting allotment-rent rise

GROWING MORE ANGRY EVERY YEAR -- gardener Geoff Umney at one of his allotments at High Leys, Hucknall
GROWING MORE ANGRY EVERY YEAR -- gardener Geoff Umney at one of his allotments at High Leys, Hucknall
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ANGRY gardeners who tend allotments in Hucknall have had enough after being hit with an inflation-busting rise in their rent every year for almost two decades.

Now spokesman Geoff Umney (62), of Long Hill Rise, has lambasted owner Ashfield District Council, sniping: “We feel as if the council is taking the money and we get no service in return.”

Mr Umney’s two allotments are on the High Leys site, which is accessed from Watnall Road.

The annual rent payable to the council on each of the plots is going up from £56.43 to £64.87 — a rise that comes into force today (Friday).

He has further been angered by news that, from next year, the council is scrapping a ten per cent reduction in fees available to the elderly and those on benefits.

“I am infuriated by what is happening,” said the father-of-two. “The two allotments have been in the family for 19 years. What sticks in my craw is that the rent always goes up and always by a big percentage every year.

“We get 12 months’ notice that the charge is going up but we don’t find out by how much until the bill arrives.

“There have been promises for years that the water supply will be improved but that hasn’t happened. We are paying for something we are not getting.

“There was even a government grant to improve local allotments but there has been nothing done to benefit the users here.

“Most people on the allotments are old-age pensioners. Why do we get hit so hard?”

A spokesman for Ashfield Council said: “Allotment prices are reviewed yearly and are always set 12 months in advance. All of the allotment holders were advised of the price changes taking effect one year ago.

“The prices were increased at that time due to a significant rise in water rates and therefore the additional costs needed to be covered.

“The council benchmarks the prices every year and they are comparable with other areas. It should also be noted that price changes put in place now for 2012 will only rise in line with inflation.

“The removal of the ten per cent reduction will not take effect until April 2012 and is part of a wider review of our concessions scheme. We believe that our allotments represent excellent value for money.”