St Albans allotment price increase much “more sensible” than 400 per cent hike fears

PUBLISHED: 12:00 30 September 2017

A generic photo of a general view of  allotments, growing both vegetables and flowers. See PA Feature GARDENING Allotments. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature GARDENING Allotments

A generic photo of a general view of allotments, growing both vegetables and flowers. See PA Feature GARDENING Allotments. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature GARDENING Allotments

© Robert Davies

Future prices for St Albans allotments will be much lower than the controversial 400 per cent increase initially considered.

St Albans district council’s (SADC) City Neighbourhoods Committee (CNC) have been considering five different four-year allotment price plans in eight wards - new prices will come into force in 2019 and gradually increase year-on-year.

It is currently £47.20 a year for a full sized plot, which is about 252sqm to 190sqm - in April allotment holders were aghast to find out that by 2022 it could cost a whooping £240.

That figure would be necessary if all subsidies from SADC for allotments were cut and plot holders were paying for everything.

At a CNC meeting on Wednesday September 27, councillors decided the year on year increase will be in line with the Consumer Price Index of inflation rate. For 2019/2020 a full plot will be £48.56, a 2.9 per cent increase.

This percentage may change for future years as inflation rates change.

Chairman of St Albans’ Folly Lane Allotment Group (FLAG), Bob Grover, reacted: “How can it possibly have taken so many lengthy discussions to reach the obvious decision?”

He said the CPI rate was “fine” and “we can live with that”.

Adding: “We are very pleased that they have settled for the sensible rate of increase, and there’s all sorts of nit picking one could to but there’s no point in doing it.”

At the meeting, Cllr Roma Mills also commented on the amount of time spent on the issue: “I do think we have chewed this one to death already to be honest.

“This is the third time it’s come to committee, and I think most of us who were interested have gone out and met with

allotment holders, we have done a bit of investigation ourselves into comparative costs, comparative services, we have tried to take their view of the value of services the allotment holders provide.”

Adding a decision should be “swiftly” and “speedily” reached at that meeting.

At the meeting a spokesperson from Longacres Residents Association expressed concerns about using inflation rate, explaining that “fixing something variable to a fixed rate over [four] years, there’s an element of risk”.

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