ANGRY pensioners fear a huge hike in their allotment fees could lead to many deserting their plots - and have called on Sheffield Council to reconsider.
Letters have been sent out to allotment holders about revised rents, which are going up 60 per cent in 2013/14 to £50, £70 and £100
Pensioners currently have a 50 per cent discount, which will continue for the next 12 months.
But, from April 2014, rents go up to £80, £112 and £160 depending upon size, while pensioners’ discounts are cut to 25 per cent, unless they are on benefits or pension credits when a 75 per cent reduction will apply.
The change will see pensioners paying between £60 and £120, up from between £25 and £50 over the next year.
Sheffield Council said the higher prices are necessary to fund an expansion of allotments, and added there is a large waiting list for plots.
But retired office manager Tom Gordon, of Norton Lees, said: “It’s absolutely scandalous that the age-related concessions have been reduced by so much. People will give up.”
Peter Sides, secretary of Rodney Hill allotments, Wisewood, added: “The reason the council gives is that it has absolutely no money, but it would be better postponing the plans to expand, and keep the tenants it already has.
“Three allotment holders have gone already because of the rising fees. What is the point of building new allotments when people are giving up at the existing sites?”
Coun Bryan Lodge, Sheffield Council cabinet member for finance, said: “Our allotment fees are still among the lowest in the region and there is huge demand from people for plots.”