Message from the Chair of Ashford Allotment Society
The Council's survey concerning a review of allotments has rightly generated much discussion and debate. The purpose of the review was to ascertain the thoughts of tenants regarding the costs of providing allotments. Currently taken from minutes of our meetings these are £51 000 annually with a revenue of £6500. The survey was asking questions about suggested possible changes and not asking for opinions on specific increases to charges for rent which were and are neither envisaged nor proposed. The survey was designed to find out whether income could be increased and looking at alternative ways of delivering the allotment service.
The survey included questions about possible increased charges, whether a service charge for water use could be paid and if a deposit scheme should be introduced with rental paid in advance as well as ascertaining views about whether ,as currently is the case, that some tenants should not be able rent an allotment free of charge. The latter two issues have been discussed over recent years in our committee meetings and recommended as a way of ensuring genuine commitment from new tenants.
To suggest that the rent will be increasing by 400% is simply not what is being proposed. It is unfortunate that a few tenants have discussed this in the local press as fact and it is both premature and scaremongering as these views and concerns may not represent those of the majority of plot holders.
The Council will be presenting the outcomes of the survey on Wednesday 3 June to committee members. This is not an open meeting for all tenants. There will be an extraordinary meeting currently scheduled for July ( no date confirmed ) to give everyone a chance to present individual views and join in discussion.
Any plot holders should realise that if they wish to attend the meeting on 3rd June the room allocated may not allow more than up to four additional tenants per site and the constitution states that individuals do not have the right to speak apart from via their rep. To turn away people from this meeting could lead to frustration and disappointment .
I intend to propose to the members that 1 or 2 nominated persons per site may be able to speak as an individual tenant particularly from Beaver and Wye who have no elected rep.
I hope this will alleviate some of the concerns currently circulating and provide an opportunity for discussion and debate on the Councils's survey to provide a proportionate response, so that all who wish to continue enjoying the benefits of maintaining an allotment can do so.
The minutes from the meeting will be available on the website via the minutes secretary .
Yours Penny Winston Chair of the Ashford Allotment Society .