Sheffield Council allotments bill controversy

Geraldine O'Connor from Greystones who is in dispute with Sheffield Council over an unpaid allotment bill
Geraldine O'Connor from Greystones who is in dispute with Sheffield Council over an unpaid allotment bill
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An allotment tenant is locked in a battle with Sheffield Council over rents the authority says she must pay - covering a period after she had given back her plot.

Geraldine O’Connor, from Greystones, had been a tenant at Meersbrook allotments for the last three years but telephoned Sheffield Council in June to say she wanted to finish using the site.

She said: “I thought the phone call would have been sufficient.

“I thought nothing more of it, until I started receiving letters from the council which are quite confusing.”

Geraldine, aged 57, says one letter told her she owed £100 in unpaid rents in July - then she received another saying she was no longer a tenant during the same period.

She said: “I have tried calling the council to resolve the dispute but to no avail and they insist I owe the money.

“How can I owe them for a period when I wasn’t a tenant? The whole thing just doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Geraldine said the episode has left her distressed and ‘out of her mind’ with worry - and she added she is unsure where she will find the money to pay the council’s demand.

A Sheffield Council spokeswoman said officials are investigating Geraldine’s complaint to establish whether she owes the money, or if the bill should be cancelled. The council said it had a duty to collect debts, especially when facing huge budget cuts.