Allotment rent rise row in Rotherham

UKIP candidate and MEP Jane Collins joins allotment protesters outside Rotherham's council offices
UKIP candidate and MEP Jane Collins joins allotment protesters outside Rotherham's council offices
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Allotment tenants in Rotherham say they are ‘held to ransom’ by the town’s council over rent rises.

They are protesting at what they say is a 291 per cent increase in the amount of rent they pay for their gardening spots since 2011.

A letter of complaint about the above inflation rises was presented to the council commissioner Stella Menzies by Jane Collins, Ukip candidate for Rotherham.

Diane Bainbridge, from the Rotherham and District Allotment Association, said: “Allotment tenants feel they are an easy target for the council.

“We are intrinsically tied to our plots, compared to other activities, by the very nature of our financial and physical commitment to one piece of land.

“Many tenants feel they held to ransom by the council through massive rent increases.”

Rent for standard allotment plots was £26.22 in 2012 – but the rent formula has now changed to a per square metre rate.

In 2013-14 it cost 15p per metre and in 2014-15 it rose to 21p per metre.

Ms Collins said: “I have been incredibly impressed to see the way allotment gardeners get on together.

“Every age and culture is represented and everyone helps each other.

“It seems utterly ridiculous that Labour-run Rotherham Council is trying to destroy this co-operation through massive rent increases that few people can afford.”

A spokesman for the council said: “Commissioner Stella Manzie is looking into the points raised by the tenants and will provide a detailed response in due course.”