Allotments rethink call

PROPOSED hefty increases in Bristol’s allotment rents and charges look set to be a major issue in the run-up to the Bristol City Council elections next month.

There was a huge row earlier this year after plans were put forward to raise the fees for the first time since 2018 and introduce new rules.

Thousands of people raised objections, which led to most of the rule changes being dropped, although the rent rises were still said to be needed. 

As part of the negotiations over the council’s budget for 2024-25, the Conservatives persuaded the Labour-led administration to delay the increases, which would see the cost of a medium plot rising from £70 currently to £113 in 2025, and then £156 in 2026, until next year.

Now the Green Party, which says it was excluded from those discussions, has “called in” the decision made at the Labour cabinet meeting on March 5 to bring in the rent rises from 2025.  The call-in was being discussed at a meeting made up of councillors of all parties on March 27, after the Voice went to print. But whatever the outcome, it’s likely the issue will be revisited after the elections on May 2, when Bristol will be returning to a committee system rather than a cabinet one.

 Councillor Emma Edwards (Bishopston and Ashley Down), leader of the Green group, said, “When the city finally gets balanced committees representing all parties elected by residents, the Greens will make sure the committees pick up the pieces and start to listen to the concerns, wisdom, and insight of allotment communities.  

“Sadly, the furore created by these ill-judged proposals means it will be a more difficult task to ensure a collaborative debate that develops a better way to manage this service.”