The Thin End of the Hedge
Good and bad news for the many people who’ve spent the past decade or so mouldering on the waiting list for allotments.
The good news is that it’s likely some people won’t be able to afford to keep theirs up any more, thus making room for you. The bad news, of course, is that you won’t be able to afford it either.
Greenwich council, as has been reported all over the shop, is proposing rate-hikes for full plots from £67 a year to £200 – and in some cases even more. Now admittedly, that doesn’t cover many people – the loss of great swathes of land over the past century has taken the amount of available allotment spaces down to a teeny amount (and, I suspect, the amount of full plots down to an infinitesimal number) – but that’s still a whopping great wodge to take out of anyone’s pocket. Especially since the classic allotmenteer is retired and, naturally, without a garden so unlikely to be rolling in readies. Nowadays gardening is suddenly fashionable among the chattering, twittering and blogging classes and that stereotype’s not so common, but there are still older, and poorer, Greenwich people for whom two hundred smackers is going to be just too much.
How much cash is Greenwich Council really going to make out of this? Compared to the anger it’s creating, I’m reckoning it’s just not worth it. They can’t be after the land because there’s a statutory obligation to provide allotments (though I’ve never really worked out what that meant – there are all manner of ways out of that one if they were so inclined, not that I’m going to elaborate here…) so I think it must just be for the extra couple of thousand quid they’ll make out of a very few people.
Is this traditional realm of Arthur Fowlers destined to become yet another enclave only available for those with ready cash to pay for it?
BTW the picture is of the poshest allotments in Greenwich, in Prior Street. I don’t know if this particular site is involved in the cuts as it’s run by a private group, but I daresay someone will tell me…
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