Milton Keynes allotment subsidy is like 'Robin Hood in reverse'

A rent hike of 230 per cent at an allotment is '˜justified' as taxpayers shouldn't be funding the '˜middle class' hobby.

Thursday, 9th November 2017, 11:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 10:35 am
Plot holders of allotments such as this one in Broughton Road, Milton Keynes Village, will now have to pay more

That’s the view of a councillor, who has defended Broughton and MK Village Parish Council’s decision on the increase.

Allotment users are angry at the price increase for sites at Broughton Road, Walton Road, Claridge Park and Kemsley Crescent.

Users say that the rent has risen from £21 this year, to £60 next year and £69 the following year.

But Councillor John Bint, who sits on the parish council as well as being a ward member on MK Council, said that the rents were only going up because they had been heavily subsidised in the past, and that this could not continue.

He said: “Our view is that this is a hobby that is only available for a small number of people. It was getting huge subsidy from the taxpayer, and there’s not huge justification for it.

There’s only so much money, and how we spend it must stand up to scrutiny. Yes, it’s a huge increase, but it’s a trivial amount of money.

“These people will have spent hundreds of pounds on sheds, parasols and tables. But a couple of extra pounds a week to have the allotment is unreasonable?

“It’s taking money from low household incomes and giving it to middle class residents for a hobby. It’s like Robin Hood in reverse, and it isn’t justified.”

But Julie Gebhardt, who rents a plot, said: “They are making things more difficult as there will be less take up.

“The proposals are unjust. I have held an allotment, now two plots, on this site since start-up in 2011. I have seen our price rise from £11.20 each to £21 each over the seven years - which is in itself quite an increase each year and over and above inflation.

"They are now asking for a big per cent increase from £21 to £60 and then a further increase to £69. Quite simply it is three times what the other Milton Keynes parishes are charging.”