UK Veg Gardeners

In its first Allotment Strategy: Cultivating Communities(2002) City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) adopted the following comparability factors:

  • The level of allotment rents in the rest of Scotland and the scale in England
  • costs of other outdoor recreational or leisure activities provided by the authority.

The second of these factors was underpinned  by the  court case of  Harwood  v Reigate & Banstead Borough Councils in the High Court Chancery Division when Mr Harwood challenged a 300% rent rise and succeeded.  The judge ruled that as other amenity charges had not been raised in proportion this was a discriminatory practice and unlawful. The full transcript can be read here

Furthermore the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999 makes it automatically unfair for a landlord to impose an arbitrary increase in rent. Guidance by the OFT on unfair terms in tenancy agreements indicates that unless increases are linked to such external factors as the RPI or evaluated by an objective person independent of the landlord they may be deemed to be unfair. The guidance under section 3.102 can be read here.

So what has happened to allotment rents?  Since 2005

  • Edinburgh allotment rents have gone up 267% and are set to £100 for 2014.
  • Glasgow rents have tracked the RPI and are currently £33.50
  •  The cost of an Edinburgh Leisure Card has dropped from £43 to £25 and the following increases made on the sports tarrif:

Gym           6%

Swim           30%

Tennis          2%

Golf             0%

Football       19%

So inflation for Edinburgh golfers is 0%.  For allotment gardeners it is 267% !

No one can be in any doubt that City of Edinburgh allotment rent rises are illegal.

Views: 36

Comment by Gareth Howell on February 3, 2015 at 15:16

Some sharp council tax officer is assessing the profit on vegetables which are entirely for private consumption, as a profit, and increasing the rents unfairly, in accordance with his opinion.

Even then the increase noted is excessive.

My own experience of allotmenteering is that, with the little knowledge that most people have, of growing their own food, (mine included)it takes at least four years to grow them effectively,probably five, so to raise the cost of the allotment even to the beginner is very unfair indeed, and a sever dis-incentive to plant and allotment growing.

Three years is considered proper before the first taxation of a start-up business big time, yet the council officer responsible, is applying it to small plots which wouldnt be business in a thousand years.

Rather like the Purbeck District council of Dorset who say that people who make a complaint about council services will be put on a blacklist and may not complain again.   I got their Xmas newsletter

with all the December activities on January 17th.  Thanks.  No complaints!

I had a development notice for a neighbouring property on Dec10th, with a blanklink to a website link, until January 10th. No complaints. I'm on a blacklist.


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