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Cynical Council allotment plot as growers prepare to dig-in against extra charges



In an extraordinary move Conservatives running the City Council have changed their proposal several times.  It is to be considered tomorrow (Thursday 9 a.m) in the Guildhall. Stung by so much opposition since this unpopular move was exposed by local Lib Dems a couple of weeks ago; Conservatives are now saying the £20,000 they want to raise originally to "spend elsewhere in the city" is now actually to cover 'discretionary costs' like insurance. The trouble is allotment council officers stated at a January meeting "Full Cost Recovery was achieved in November last year".

No one knew about these rises until local Lib Dems started to notify allotment associations and the public. As a result the Conservative Councillor was invited by allotment leaders to explain the rises to their meeting last week.  In that meeting the Conservative Councillor behind these extra rises said 'that she would raise fees for allotments if it meant keeping other services.'  So it looks like they are still intent on raising £20,000 off allotment holders to spend elsewhere as they stated before, but using a new cynical form of words to try to hide what they are doing.  

You can make your mind up on the two versions of events below:

This is what the report (below) said when the rises were exposed in January:

1. Purpose of report

1.1. In light of the budget pressures faced by Portsmouth City Council officers have identified ways of achieving a surplus from the city's allotments. This report identifies options to achieve this.

1.2. To inform the cabinet member that allotments will no longer be offered for rent in rods (an obsolete unit of measurement) but will instead be offered in square meters.

2. Recommendations

2.1. That the cabinet member approves one of the options presented to generate £20,000 additional income from allotments. 2.2. That the cabinet member notes the change in units of measurement of allotment plots.


This is what the 'new' (rewritten) report says now:

1. Purpose of report:  

1.1. In line with the ambition of Portsmouth City Council to ensure that the fees for discretionary services are set to cover the costs of delivery, officers are recommending two options to increase fee levels to meet this objective.

1.2. To inform the cabinet member that allotments will no longer be offered for rent in rods (an obsolete unit of measurement) but will instead be offered in square meters.

2. Recommendations

2.1. That the cabinet member approves one of the options presented to move closer to the aim to ensure that fees generated from discretionary services cover the full cost of service delivery. In officers opinion, both options result in the same outcome financially, but option 1 has less risk, consequently option 1 is recommended.


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