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Council passes motion for allotment rent reduction

Mansfield District Council has passed a motion proposing to reduce the current rent for allotments to £35 per year and to reject the planned rent increases for 2013/14.

The Council has fourteen allotment sites with around 600 plots. At the moment allotment holders pay £50 per year, which is proposed to rise to £66 next year as part of the Council's annual budget review. This planned increase was introduced in 2010/11 to enable the allotment service to be self financing by 2013/14.

Cllr Sonya Ward proposed the motion at a meeting of the Council on Tuesday 30 October. She said: "I don't think it is right that that the people of Mansfield should be charged more than the national average for their allotments. Many allotment holders are pensioners or on low incomes and rent has increased considerably over the past four years. Allotments add to people's quality of life; they provide opportunities to get out into the open air, grow fresh food and make friends. The rent should be fair and affordable to encourage more people to keep allotments."

Cllr Philip Shields, Portfolio Holder for the Environment, said: "When I took up the role of Portfolio Holder for the Environment last year, I felt it necessary to review how we manage our allotments and asked for a review of the Council's Allotment Strategy. As part of this review, a Task and Finish Group was created to allow members to give detailed consideration to the draft Allotment Strategy. Prior to me taking up this role, the rent had been increased considerably over the years. This is something I was also keen to address. I believe that the rent should not be increased for the next financial year and should be kept at its current level."

The motion is advisory and is not a change in policy. The Executive Mayor will take the views of the Council into account during the forth coming budget preparation.

The Allotment Strategy Review report of the Task and Finish Group will be presented to Select Commission 1 and 3 within coming weeks. As part of the budget setting process for 2013/14, proposed fees and charges, (including rents for allotments) will be considered by Cabinet on 5 November, this will then be passed to Select Commission 3 on 6 November for consultation. Comments will then be presented to Cabinet on 14 January 2013 for further consideration and Cabinet will then make its recommendation for deliberation at Full Council on 23 January 2013.

Published 06 November 2012

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