Saturday, 7 March 2015

Allotment Rent - Breathing Space?

  • Edinburgh allotment holders have experienced double digit rent inflation for nine successive years. (from £30 to £100)

  • Our Allotment Association (FEDAGA) arranged for this on behalf of their members.

  • The Council then proposed to triple the rent  to £300 as part of this years financing round.

  • 99 objections were received by the Council and an online petition was "signed" by over 2,000 people.

  • The Council anounced recently that the proposed increase is to be dropped.(HOORAY)

Here a personal "thank you" from me to those of you who I know assisted the Edinburgh allotment community through the online petition and raising awareness of the issue more widely.

On examination of the Council's consultation report it seems that:

3.26 FEDAGA contributed to the consultation and made a number of suggestions for ways the Council could raise additional revenues through allotments. All of these will be passed to the service, but examples included:

• A fee for being registered on the waiting list – given that there is a multi-year waiting list for allotments and an administrative cost of maintaining the waiting list;

• A joining fee for new allotment holders;

• A deposit for new allotments and for keys to allotment sites – refundable when allotments and keys are returned to the Council;

• Use of environmental wardens to issue fines for allotments which are not appropriately maintained;

• Providing only materials and land for new and redeveloped allotment sites, requiring those who want an allotment to provide the labour; and

• Recruitment of volunteers to manage administrative tasks for the allotments service.

So any idea that FEDAGA have woken up to their folly is gone.  They turned on their membership many years ago and it seems the habit of identifying their interest with that of the Council is a habit they can't shake off .  This is not fair on the current or prospective membership.



  1. Hi Mal

    The idea of a (small) deposit for the key to the allotments isn't a bad idea. I think most people in Wakefield have a key to allotment sites. I wouldn't want Wakefield adopting any of the other ideas though.

    1. Well, i must agree with you my friend!

      Greetings, Zygmunt
      storage Edinburgh

  2. Interesting. We have had a tenancy fee for a long time, and while our rents have increased it's not been by that much. My two plots now cost £80, was under £60 when I started. Our plot recently went self managing officially though it has been in practice for years, with volunteers doing the paths etc. Self-management seems to be doing well, it allow the association to keep the rents and so there has been no increase this year.

    1. And I'm interested to hear about the self management scheme in practice.

      Is the tenancy fee the rent or something on top?

      As ever my beef is that the allotment holders association (FEDAGA) is receiving subscriptions from every Edinburgh Allotment holder and then fails to represent their members interests and instead has advocated steep rises in rent! Now it seems to have a range other schemes for picking the pockets of it's hard pressed members.

    2. The tenancy fee is the initial one-off fee when you take on a plot. Last time I knew it was £100, you then have the rent each year. Our plots are all different sizes so they vary markedly in price.

      In terms of self management, it means the council no longer does anything. I'm not on the committee so I don't know the ins and outs of the finances, but the membership of our plot association is now included in the rent where before it was separate. I assume there is some financial arrangement with the council. Our council is very small and they have been pushing for self management for years, any new plots they create are set up this way. Their approach before this ranged from laissez-faire to a stasi type operation. The new arrangement is actually working well, to my surprise, wasn't sure that would be the case!

    3. Thanks for responding to my request, Ruth.

      It seems a tall order to pay £100 extra when you are starting out. Most plots are in a sorry state when they are handed over. Take my new neighbours. They spent last weekend removing rubbish (enough to fill a small skip). In return they have inherited a few mature soft fruit bushes that probably need replacing too. They will need to buy a new shed and after that they can start on improving the soil and buying plants and seeds. With all these outgoings it seems a bit hard to hit them with an extra charge too. In fact I would suggest a discount in the first year!

      Glad to hear the self management experience has worked for you. I feared the variation would be what happened after self management.

      (Our site voted against self management at the last AGM )