Huntingdon allotment price hike will create a “two-tier system”

PLANS to offer new allotment plots for double the rent of existing ones were called into question last week.

PLANS to offer new allotment plots for double the rent of existing ones were called into question last week.

A proposal to charge allotment holders �52 a year for a plot on undeveloped land at Sallowbush Road was recommended for approval by members of Huntingdon Town Council’s finance committee earlier this year.

Currently, plots at a neighbouring site across Redwongs Way are leased by the town council for �24 a year, as are other plots in Hartford Road, Primrose Lane and North Street.

But at a finance committee meeting last week, Councillor Colin Hyams said the proposal, which was put forward by former Councillor Doug Adams, would create a “two-tier system” and called for one flat-rate of �24.

“I believe we should encourage people to take up allotments. A lot of people are elderly citizens that are using this.

“The cost of food is going up, and it is a big jump from �24 to �52. Certain things are public services that we have to provide. It seems wrong that we have on one side of the road �24 and across the road �50 plus plots.”

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While councillors were divided on the issue of a price rise, all agreed fees should be standard across the board.

Committee chairman Cllr Andrew Bish added: “As much as we would all like to provide allotments for no cost. We have to take account of our own budgets, and fall in line with the national average.”

HTC hopes to create 15 plots of 300 square yards on the one-acre stretch of land next to Hotel Chocolat.

The site has been derelict since it was taken out of use as an allotment area in 2007 to make way for a potential expansion of Hotel Chocolat.

The company’s expansion plans, however, have since collapsed because of the economic downturn.

Councillors recommended the issue be discussed at the council’s next lettings sub-committee on September 29.

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