Allotment holders in Dewsbury, Batley Spen facing a 600 per cent fee hike
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Kirklees Council is increasing prices by nearly 600 per cent for those who rent allotments from the local authority.
Changes are also being made to the pensioner discount which will drop from 50 per cent to 25 er cent and come into effect when a person is 70 rather than at age 60 for women, or 65 for men as is the case currently.
In a letter to plot holders, the council states it has not raised prices in line with allotment costs over the past 10 years but can not put this off any longer due to financial pressures.
One resident, 66-year-old Graham Simpson said that his costs will rise from £13.41 to £93 – as his pensioner discount will be removed and he will also have to pay additional water rates.
“To get this notification in November with rent payable in January doesn’t give people on low incomes time to budget,” he said.
"I just think it’s too much of an increase in one fell swoop.”
Mr Simpson also spoke of the importance of allotments in allowing residents, especially those who are elderly, to be active and maintain healthy lifestyles.
Leader of Kirklees’ Green group, Coun Andrew Cooper (Newsome) said: “This increase in allotment charges by Kirklees Council goes way beyond inflation.
“Kirklees need to look again at allotment fees and make the rise one that people who use allotments can afford.”
Councillor Yusra Hussain, cabinet member for Culture and Greener Kirklees, said: “This price rise is not something that we have taken lightly.
"However, due to the current financial climate and not having raised prices in line with costs for allotments over the past 10 years, we are unable to hold price increases any longer.
"Most plot holders will see a maximum increase of around £63 per year. However, a small amount may see slightly higher up to a maximum of £77.
“The increase brings Kirklees more in line with local authorities nationally.
“With a waiting list of over 2,000 people, we also hope that it will encourage plot holders to consider if they still wish to continue with their allotment resulting in fewer falling into disrepair.”