Allotment holders fear being priced out by 400% rent increase

Glasgow City Council said 'the most challenging circumstances for public finances in decades' are to blame for the rent hike.

Allotment holders in Glasgow say many people will no longer be able to afford to use the service, when the annual rent goes up from next spring.

The price is due to go up from £34.50 to £170, an increase of 392%.

Glasgow City Council says the fee has not changed in 14 years, and the move will bring it more in line with other comparable local authorities.

But it’s feared many allotment members will not be able to afford the increase.

 Maureen McKendrick from Budhill and Springboig Allotment Association

Maureen McKendrick, the secretary at Budhill and Springboig Allotment Association, told STV News: “Believe it or not we struggle to get £34.50 from people because it’s an area of high deprivation.

“So to go from that to £170 just isn’t feasible, it isn’t manageable.

“The feedback we’re getting is that we’re going to have a lot of plot holders simply unable to make that payment, so we could easily lose a third of our plot holders.”

Concessionary rates, available to students, over 60s, and people who receive benefits, are also increasing, from £25 to £114.

The council says “the most challenging circumstances for public finances in decades” are to blame.

Denis Barrett, who has rented a plot at the allotment for the last 12 years, said: “Many people here would have a very sad life if they weren’t here.

“We have guys who would tell you they’ve a choice; be in the pub all day, or be here. They’d rather be here.”

Denis Barrett has rented an allotment for 12 years

On the rise, he said: “We’re getting picked on, abused, taxed for doing what is right, what is healthy, good living, and makes us an important ingredient and part of society.”

Maureen says people don’t believe the increase represents value for money.

She said: “It’s really important to offer accessibility to places like this, especially in the east end of Glasgow. We have a lot of flats, and people who don’t have garden space.

“They’re penalising poor people. It’s not the poll tax, it’s the plot tax.

“Because we only get water from the council, everything else on this site is provided by the committee, by the people.”

Glasgow City Council says thousands of tonnes of topsoil will be made available to plot users once the increase comes into force.

However, its implementation will now be staggered over a five-year period.

A spokesperson said: “The full annual fee equals a cost of 47p per day and in our view this still represents good value for those committed to growing in Glasgow.

“An increase in revenue will also help make our allotment service financially sustainable with any surplus being reinvested in the service.

“Full details of how the increase to fees will be phased in over a five-year period will be shared with plot holders in the very near future.”

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