Green councillors have written to Labour-led Exeter City Council asking them to restart their consultation on almost doubling allotment fees for the city’s 1,533 allotment holders. Greens say the consultation ignores the Council’s own consultation standards on making changes to council services and charges.
St David’s Councillor, Diana Moore, said:
“The Council have lost the plot on their consultation with allotment holders. It fails the Labour-led Council’s own consultation standards. It allows just three weeks for responses from allotmenteers - falling well short of a decent consultation period - hasn’t asked allotment associations for their views and fails to consult the 686 people on the allotment waiting list.
“We appreciate that Council’s allotments team are under pressure due to the £6.5m of cuts the Council is facing. This is not helped by the fact Labour has cut the Council's Environmental Services budgets deeper than any other service over the years. However, the consultation reads only as a notice to increase fees. The annual fee is proposed to increase from £42 to £74.50 for a 10 rod/250m2 plot for senior citizens. For many allotment holders such extra costs during a cost of living crisis is too much."
Councillor Tess Read added:
“Allotment owners on the Council's 14 sites play an important role in caring for our local environment. They provide lungs of greenery for the city and offer great opportunities for socialising and building physical and mental health. Growing your own food also helps address the cost of living crisis.
”Given the social and environmental value that allotments offer, we need to have a consultation process that helps people understand the reasons for proposed fee rises and listens properly to what people think will help maintain, improve and cover the costs of these important city assets. It’s time to call this consultation in and start afresh.”