BHAF have been informed that the Council is proposing to raise allotment fees from April 2023.
Councillor Jamie Lloyd who is deputy chair of Brighton and Hove Councils ETS Committee told us;
“I am writing to let you know that the council finds itself in a perilous financial position and we are needing to make savings and increase charges, across all council departments. This is not due to financial mismanagement from the council, we are in a much better situation than many other councils but we are all facing the same pressures of runaway inflation, the spiralling cost of adult social care coupled with absolutely no government support. We have absorbed over £110 million worth of cuts since 2012 and we are all the victims of this devastating austerity which means we are having to close public toilets and nurseries.
All council services are having a 3% increase to their fees and charges and we also need to make a £40,000 saving from the allotment service. To do this in a way that is as fair as possible I have suggested that we ask for an approx. £25 PA service charge, for all plot holders apart from those that are currently receiving a discount, due their personal circumstances. This seems to be the fairest way to raise the savings we need, without penalising those on lower incomes.
Please note that this increase will be per plot, irrespective of size… this increase is a reflection not of our service but of the perilous financial position we find ourselves in.”
Rachel Chasseaud (Assistant Director City Environment) told us that
“…the rise will cover some of the management and administration costs which are not currently incorporated in the plot fee”
The administration cost for each plot holder is the same regardless of the size of their plot.
I understand the financial stress that the Council finds itself in but I also understand there is a lot of frustration for plot holders and those on the waiting list about how the service is being managed already. Cllr Lloyd is fully aware and appreciates our concerns.
Allotments have a specific role especially in times like these when there is a cost-of-living crisis, some people are having to use food banks to survive and some cannot even afford to heat their homes.
It is imperative for me that plot holders and potential plot holders on lower incomes are not ‘priced out’ of allotments and that allotments must remain affordable for those that they are actually intended for. It seems that the Council has recognised this and is prepared to protect those who pay concessionary rates.
The precise details of this proposal will not be seen until the agenda for the Councils ETS Committee is published a week before the ETS meeting which is on the 17th January. We will email plot holders the exact proposal when it is published (around the 10th Jan).
The BHAF Committee takes direction from our members (you… the plot holders). We therefore need to consult you on this proposal in order to understand how we best represent you. Please email us with your views. It may be best to wait until we see the exact details of the proposal on the 10th Jan. However you may feedback before then if you wish.
Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org stating your site.
Our secretary will then collate your comments and we will arrange an allotment forum to discuss the feedback towards the end of January. Councillor Lloyd has agreed to attend that forum to present his proposal and respond to your opinions.