Sheffield Council to increase allotment rents below ‘current’ inflation
The members of Sheffield City Council’s communities, parks and leisure policy committee decided to approve a proposal that would see the allotment rents increase by 5.96 per cent in 2025/26.
They were told that the hike was below the “current inflation” rate and a supporting document stated “this represents a budget reduction” and it does not create savings for the council.
Rowan Longhurst, service manager for countryside, told the committee that due to the cost of living crisis and “abnormally high levels of inflation”, they consulted on the proposed rental rises.
She said they decided to seek the opinion of Sheffield’s 3,200 tenants (and an allotment advisory group) despite in 2018 it was agreed that, as standard, rents would increase in line with inflation.
Ms Longhurst said: “We asked tenants to let us know, essentially, between five and 10 per cent what levels of increase that they were prepared to pay or interested to pay.
“The highest response, probably unsurprisingly, was a five per cent rise.
“Interestingly, however, 8.6 per cent, so the second highest result we got was in favour of a 10 per cent rise.”
In a report, the authors stated that a significant review was undertaken in 2014/15.
Since a one-off 60 per cent increase in April 2014, rent has increased between 1.8 per cent and 2.9 per cent, ending in April 2023.
However, the increase is set at 5.5 per cent in April 2024.
This is how it looks in practice – the tenants of a piece of land up to 100m² have to pay a total of £45.20 this year.
Due to the planned increases, they will have to pay £47.70 next year and £50.55 the year after.
Cllr Tony Downing (Mosborough, Labour) asked whether those on lower income could still have some reduction in rent.
He was told there were no proposed changes to the concession rebates which range from 25 to 75 per cent.
Ms Longhurst added that 40 per cent of the tenants are eligible for claiming the rebate.
The committee was also told that waiting lists do vary “from site to site” in different parts of the city.
Ms Longhurst said the demand post-Covid is still higher than pre-Covid.
She said: “There’s a waiting list on every site.”
The committee unanimously approved the 5.96 per cent rise.