Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Allotment heaven. Photo provided by AC

Allotment heaven. Photo provided by AC

Huge increase in allotment rents

Allotment holders across Hastings and St Leonards are facing very large increases in their rents to the Council over the next two financial years. The draft budget being put forward for approval by Hastings Borough Council members next week proposes rent increases of nearly 60% across the two years. If approved, plot-holders would be asked to pay just under 30% more from this spring.

The Hastings and St Leonards Allotment Federation, which represents 600 plot-holders across the Borough, has been arguing against any increase of this size. The Federation has pointed out to the Council that national allotment legislation requires that any increase in rent should be confined to ‘what a tenant would reasonably be expected to pay’. The Federation does not believe that the increases proposed are reasonable in terms of the legislation.

The proposed increase comes against a background of significant real term increases in rent earlier in the decade, at the same time as a decline in the services provided to plot-holders in terms of waste management and site inspections.

Andrew Colquhoun, chair of the Federation, commented: “We understand that, with its current financial problems, the Council is going to be tempted to slap on extra charges wherever it can get away with it. But they have a legal requirement to act reasonably on allotment rents. And they need to understand the wider social, health and environmental benefits which allotments deliver”.

“Many plot-holders are elderly or on low incomes”, continues Andrew. “Rent increases of this sort risk driving these people off their plots. And there is good evidence of the benefits which allotments provide to the community for local bio-diversity and soil fertility, as well as advantages in terms of emotional and physical well-being”

HOT asked Andrew about the current cost of renting an allotment and how much it will be with the planned increases. He said: “Allotments are still based on an ancient square measure called “rods” which some of us remember from school days, together with poles and perches.

“A typical 10 rod plot at present costs about £54, so with the proposed rent increases rent would move to £70 in 2018/19 and then up again to £86 in 2019/20. I can’t imagine that the Council would try to push through increases in parking charges of this order. Even though they say that the Council is strapped for cash, parking charges aren’t even going up by the rate of inflation in their budget.”

The Federation has suggested that rents should rise by 10% this year, which is still several times the rate of inflation, and is asking Council members to adopt this alternative proposal when the budget is up for approval by the full Council.

Are you an allotment holder? How do you feel about the proposed increases? Please comment below.

Posted 20:02 Tuesday, Feb 6, 2018 In: Nature


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  1. Penny

    I am an allotment holder and have been saying for years that they are far too cheap. Mine costs me £35.20 this year, that’s 67p per week!
    I am on a very low income and would be prepared to pay 10 x that, which would scrap the subsidy and allow me to sell any surplus produce if I was of a mind to.
    100% of Sweet F A is still Sweet F A.
    Stop moaning and be grateful we’ve got away with this for all this time.
    A 5 rod plot is ample, and there are smaller ones for people who cannot manage that much.
    I don’t know of any 10 rod plots, although some people have more than one 5 rod plot, which is not allowed if there is a waiting list.
    I suspect that they are the main complainants.

    Comment by Penny — Thursday, Feb 8, 2018 @ 12:47

  2. S.Moore

    I am not an allotment holder but I do feel strongly about the rate of increased rent proposed. People who keep their allotments and use them for growing vegtables and flowers are undertaking an important mission in todays climate of eco problems. Not only are they growing their own vegetables which can help provide extra nourishment to them and family and friends but it is a good way to encourage younger people away from the computer/phone etc. It is physical and mentally rewarding. At a time when people are more than struggling, huge rising of rents would be catastrophic for those that cannot afford it. Will they become yet another place the less well off are pushed out? Please think again Hasyings Council! I know you need funds but PLEASE DO NOT pick on those who are making an effort in the right direction.

    Comment by S.Moore — Thursday, Feb 8, 2018 @ 09:25

  3. Ms.Doubtfire

    Look behind the scenes and it is clear this council is in a pretty dire situation and of course it is the residents who will suffer. Whether young or old, fit or frail.
    One council who is in a similar mess now has government inspectors examining their ‘books’ to see what has happened. Is is bad financial management? Is it extravagant and feckless expenditure on ‘pie in the sky’ projects? Surely not everything can be blamed on government ‘cuts’ – a favourtie ‘get of jail’ clause so frequently used as an excuse for overly large increases. Seems the closure of our public lavatories hasn’t put much back in the coffers has it? Increase the car parking charges and watch the even faster decline of our shopping centre – we think very carefully before we park now.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Thursday, Feb 8, 2018 @ 08:35

  4. Chris an allotment holder

    I was told last year by the council that it would be the last of the big rent increases for allotment holders, and that my complaint that were empty unlet plots was because people couldn’t afford them.

    Now this – like fresh manure, it stinks!

    Comment by Chris an allotment holder — Wednesday, Feb 7, 2018 @ 20:11

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