Utter bargain or a huge raise? What you said about Sunderland City Council's allotment price rise

A pensioner's complaint that the cost of renting two allotments in Sunderland will more than double has split the opinion of Echo readers.

By Debra Fox
Wednesday, 17 April, 2019, 12:33
Lesley said he could not believe the rate of the increase.

Lesley Barber, 76, will now pay an annual fee of £49 for each of the two allotments he has at the back of his Penshaw home.

He has had one of his allotments for almost 40 years.

Lesley, 76, criticised the "shock" increase and voiced fears that the hike will "put people off" taking an allotment on.

Getting in touch on the Sunderland Echo Facebook page, many readers agreed with grandad-of-seven Lesley - and added that while the cost may be low to some, it's the principle of the increase that causes a problem.

One person in the comments said the "huge raise" is unacceptable, and that the price will mostly hit pensioners who are on a fixed rate of income.

Others argued that the price charged by the council was "reasonable" - and that many have been on the allotment waiting list for many years.

A council spokesman said the city's allotments "continue to offer very good value" in comparison with other authorities in the North East.

This a view backed by some who got in touch on our social media, who pay much more in other areas.

Here is what you had to say on the Sunderland Echo Facebook page:

Jackie Callaghan: "This is a great price. He has been paying £21 a year. I know he thinks the price hike is high (and maybe to him doubling it is) but most people pay much more than that and still reap the rewards of cheap, plentiful organic food and the exercise."

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Annie Cosgrove Murray: "This is amazing value I'm surprised it's so low."

Margaret Crosby: "That's a 133% increase! Yet allotments provide exercise, growing your own food is cheaper for people, and gardening is good for mental wellbeing."

Carol Elva Greenwell: "Less than £50 a year for an allotment! Plenty of people who'd jump at that!"

Julie Hughes: "That is a huge raise which will traditionally hit pensioners who are on a fixed income. Not acceptable people."

Stu Douglas: "I have an allotment in Ayton and it has risen from £29 to £89. I work so its not a problem but for many of the holders they are all living on pensions and most it will hit them in the pocket."

Derek Pentland: "The £49 is not the issue, having and using an allotment is a positive action with many benefits nobody could disagree that renting an allotment is good value. The issue is the increase."

Lindsey Cruickshanks-Graham: "I think that is really cheap."

Glen Parkin: "To be fair £40 a year is for nothing, really wish I could get one in Sunderland I would pay double that."

Mick Wilson: "Distraction, occupation, exercise, food, fresh air and well being for 94p a week. Utter bargain."

Darren Kerby: "It's not about the amount, it's the principle of the amount of the increase."