Wednesday, 13 August 2008

What price allotments?

Mrs F's tiny patch of garden, looking rather empty just now!

A proper allotment

My suggestion that allotment holders should pay more than 32 pence per week (including unlimited water) has not gone unnoticed. A Bury Free press letter questions my statistics.
Bury Town Council’s website clearly states that ‘a 5 square rod plot (126 square metres) ... with a water supply...costs £16.55 per annum.’ And over 200 people rent them. So, unless the allotments are breaking even, 99+% of the town’s council tax payers are subsidising less than 1% who enjoy this facility.

Is this fair? I suggest something like £100 would make more sense - less than a year’s car tax or the TV licence. This amount could discourage the retention of neglected plots and reduce the increasing waiting list, whilst providing funds to improve and increase the service.

If Mrs F can grow up to £20 of salad each summer on less than 2m sq of our small garden (see above), then it might be possible to get £1,000 worth of produce per 126m sq. If I am right, an allotment at £100 per year can pay for itself several times over, especially as food prices rocket.

There may be a case for helping those allotment holders on benefits, but many are on good incomes or private pensions. Why should the rest of us, especially those on low incomes or just state pensions, subsidise them?

I have put my head above the parapet (unlike the BFP's anonymous correspondent) because as a new town councillor I think all aspects of the Council’s expenses should be scrutinised. It would of course be easier to keep quiet - but was I elected to do that?

1 comment:

Rose said...

No wonder Mrs. F didn't want those ducks !!!
I tried but failed to get them to come to our pond. They make good watch dogs.