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Greenwich allotment rent increases may be illegal
PROPOSALS to hike allotment prices by an “extortionate” 200 per cent have been questioned over their legality.
In answer to questions raised by Councillor Spencer Drury, council officers confirmed that the Allotment Act 1950 stated that allotments must be let at a rent which a tenant may “reasonably be expected to pay”.
The Conservative leader claims that in the only legal precedent concerning allotments, the judge ruled they were recreational facilities.
Other recreational facilities in the borough are entitled to a subsidy and limited to a rise in prices to between 3 per cent and 4 per cent.
These include all leisure centres run by Greenwich Leisure Limited.
Cllr Drury said “With regard to allotments, it appears that the Council may not have checked out the legal situation properly when they proposed the price rise.”
Currently allotment holders pay £67 annually for a full plot. Under the new proposals the rent will treble to £200 with some allotment holders facing even steeper rises.
Kidbrooke Park Allotment Association’s chairman, Chris Norton told News Shopper: “I think that an increase in rent price in line with inflation would be reasonable.
“We are not against rent rises in general, just against the extortionate rate that has been proposed.”
A consultation on increasing allotment rents is part of a £72,000 Greenwich Council budget proposal.
A spokesman for Greenwich council said: “The Council is currently in discussion with allotment holders to finalise proposals.
“The council and allotment holders would not be facing this situation but for the largest cuts in public expenditure by any government since the war.”