BHAF Consultation on the proposed allotment fee increase 2023

  1. Summary of priority issues of concern

While broadly accepting the case for rents to rise, plot holders have requested Councillors and BHCC officers to look again at the following before the proposal is finalised:

  • The flat fee for plots – seen as unfair to those with smaller plots. Can the formula be revised to achieve the same amount of additional revenue in a way that reflects the size of the plot?
  • Whether the impact of the proposed increase on those on low incomes (and not covered by existing concessions) has been examined in the equalities impact assessment?

Other issues of concern that plot holders would like BHCC to address:

  • Explain how the admin fee was calculated and provide more clarity on allotment service costs and budgets.
  • Improve the invoicing and billing of rents – invoices to be sent out on time, provision of capability for monthly/quarterly direct debits would help people on lower incomes to budget.
  • Ensure improvements in the service that justify the increase.
  • Look again at the case for blanket concessions for the over 60s. Many plot holders in that age group feel it is inequitable and the concession should be income related.


 Transcript of discussion on proposed rent rise is attached below

Guest speakers:
Councillor Jamie Lloyd, ETS Committee
Rachel Chasseaud, Assistant Director, City Environment
Robert Walker, Head of City Parks

Chair: Mark Carroll, BHAF
Hilary Standing : Secretary BHAF

BHAF Committee members: Hannes Froehlich, Vicki Williams, Andrew Amos, Giuseppina Salamone, Maude Casey, Allan Brown, Ronnie Mair
Also present: Bruce Riach, Allotment Officer, City Parks.

Around 40-50 people attended this meeting to hear from Councillor Lloyd and put their questions and concerns about the proposed rent rise to him and senior officers from BHCC.

Councillor Lloyd presented the reasons behind the rise. He stressed that they did not want to raise charges and fees for any Council services but were left with no other option to plug the 20 million gap in the Council’s finances. They were facing having to close nurseries and other vital services. They needed to raise an additional £45,000 to fund the allotments service from 2023. £6,000 would come from increased rental by improving the void rate. £39,000 would be raised by charging an additional flat rate admin fee on all plots, along with an inflation rise of 3%.

The original proposal was for an across-the-board rent rise of approximately 37%. The current proposal emerged (after representations from BHAF) that given the cost-of-living crisis, it is essential to protect those on concessions – pensioners, the unemployed and others on benefits – from rising rents. The reason for proposing a flat fee is because the admin costs are the same for each plot, regardless of the size of the plot.




  • 36 detailed email responses.
  • Facebook poll. The post was read by 480 people of whom 180 completed the poll.
  • Special meeting of the Allotment Forum on 25th January to which all plot holders were invited, and attended by Councillor Jamie Lloyd and BHCC officers (approx. 50 participants).


  1. BHAF Facebook group poll.

The poll question was: “Do you think, considering the financial situation the Council finds itself in, the current state of the allotment service and the cost-of-living crisis, that the fee increase of £25 per plot is acceptable?” Here are the results:

Yes, as long as people on low incomes are protected from the rise68%
No, I would have to give up my plot0%
Not sure2%


  1. Email responses


Response/Issue raised                                                                                         No of views expressed

Rise acceptable/supported if those who can’t afford it are protected10
Happy to pay without further changes to the proposal4
Prepared to pay more than the proposed charge to subsidise those who can’t afford the extra rent4
Supportive of a lower charge1
Proposed increase not acceptable3
Can’t afford to pay more4
Need to protect everyone who can’t afford to pay3
Remove automatic concession for over-60s from those able to pay the full increase2
Should provide option to pay monthly or quarterly to make it easier for those on low incomes2
Increase not justified – BHCC should recognise the wider social and economic benefits of allotments to health, welfare and food security5
Admin fee:

Unfair to those with half and quarter plots

Prepared to pay more for a full plot

Will those with separated half plots have to pay twice?

Concerned that it sets precedent for future rises

Needs to be justified – what exactly is it funding that is not covered by the existing rent?








Service issues:

We need an improved allotment service to justify higher charges (lack of support to site reps, requests go unanswered, lack of maintenance, junk piling up, overgrown trees and vegetation, untended plots not being let)




Comments about this page

  • There has not actually been a full consultation.

    I do not feel it was a consultation. Rather it was a box ticking exercise for the council to tell themselves they consulted all allotment holders. I have seen this before at Possibility People where access plans around Brighton Station were shown to attendees by BHCC.

    Regarding the allotments no one was shown what we are actually going to get for what Brighton and Hove City Council is going to take. It is tantamount to ambushing £25,00.00 off allotment plot numbers.

    Regarding street bins a full consultation ( residents were written to hard copy with maps … ) was had. However today the council need reminding of the findings. Especially as new staff come along who do not look back at consultation findings and mow straight ahead with actions contradicting rules.
    Blanket concession for over 60’s should not only be income related it should be asset related.

    Some have huge gardens on freehold land with huge houses on, along with other property investments / incomes, yet plot holders are pressed with waiting list numbers!? And in my case a waiting list of 8 years whilst co working that met an unfair end. I was Cuckooed and my plot stripped of its plant stock.

    I am not an any ‘Facebook Groups’ let alone Facebook.

    1) How representative is a Facebook Group?

    2) I understand there are 3,000 allotments in Brighton and Hove. On ratio what percentage of allotment holders are on facebook.

    3) 3,000 x 25 is £75,000.00

    4) A. (Rachel) Our cost breakdowns are quite high-level ones. How we keep our accounts is set by the chartered accountants. You will struggle to read the figures as they stand. But Jim (Allotment Projects Officer) is going to do this breakdown in a more readable form. We need to achieve £39,000 from rents and £6,000 by reducing the void. (45 in total)
    Q. Is it ringfenced for allotments?

    5) I worry about our access paths, a lot of our tenants are elderly and I worry about someone having an accident.

    The access paths at Weald are not made up properly since the waterworks.

    6) Personally I feel that BHCC wasted an enormous amount of the said £70,000.00 on laying water pipes at Weald by allowing the contract I am told hearsay to be subcontracted and subcontracted …

    Council contracts are not for contractors to help themselves to wads of monies and further for doing nothing at all. The result was hire equipment with foghorn vehicles reversing alarms on-site for a month to six weeks rendering my plot inaccessible. It is possible to attach less noise offence alarms to these vehicles for an additional fee. I had to contact U.K Folks regarding same in street I am supposed to live I was quoted without looking £250 ish to fix quieter alarms per vehicle.

    There should be restrictions on contractors who get the contract to deliver the contract themselves with no sub-contraction. Clauses in the contract preventing this. Having heard this and being made to listen to the council out with their begging bowl does not sit well.

    7) Don’t really think the word ‘Transcript’ applies. It’s not word for word tape recorded.

    Word for word timed minute by minute transcripts are available on YouTube these days.

    By Simon (07/02/2023)

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