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Barnet Council accused of “bullying” allotment holders

PUBLISHED: 11:31 05 March 2012

Changes to fees and management of allotments across north London have sparked anger

Changes to fees and management of allotments across north London have sparked anger

Archant

The process has begun to transfer Barnet allotments from council control into self-management by allotment societies, using tactics some have described as “bullying”.

The process has begun to transfer Barnet allotments from council control to self-management by allotment societies, using tactics some have branded “bullying”.

Under the new regime, allotment holders will set their own rent and pay for the upkeep of the plots, leasing them from the council for a nominal “peppercorn” rent.

But the council has been accused of tough tactics after it proposed that allotment societies which do not become self-managed should face a 250 per cent rent rise for borough residents and a 500 per cent increase for members living outside the borough.

Richard King, secretary of the Barnet Allotment Federation, said some members “feel that they’re being bullied into self-management by the council, who have begun to see them as a burden”.

He said £500,000 of repairs to fences and water supplies, which are a council responsibility, remain outstanding.

Brook Farm, in Whetstone, became independent on February 2, and is expected to be followed by the rest of the 42 societies in Barnet.

A council spokesman said: “Fee increases for non-self-managed sites reflect the costs of maintaining and administering those sites which are to remain under the council’s management.”

Haringey Council is currently debating a rise of 40 per cent rise in allotment fees, to be effective from April while allotment holders in Camden face a 50 per cent rent hike.


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