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…


the attachments to this post:

prior street allotments
prior street allotments


4 Comments to “The Thin End of the Hedge”

  1. EnglishRose says:

    My jaw is missing. I think it may be on the floor somewhere…..

    This is the first I’ve heard about the proposed increases, despite the fact that I have a plot myself. Goodness only knows how I shall afford the increase – as a civil servant on a fixed term contract (no job security, no gold plated pension scheme, a lousy salary and no prospect of redundancy pay), I’m on a pay freeze and already struggling to find the money for increases of 10% on my train fair, 11% on my gas/electricity bill, a potential hike in my rent, food price rises etc etc. I know we’re all supposed to be ‘in this together’ but it sure doesn’t feel like that right now.

  2. Benedict says:

    It seems to me a really ill concieved increase on soooo many different levels, surely a very small increase (£1 or 2 )on say , parking permits, would yield a much healthier return ?
    Or maybe they could tax Frank Inc a bit more, he must have as many pubs as there are allotments….?

  3. Tim says:

    Don’t worry- they’ve though of that too- parking charges to double from April!

  4. ConfusedRhubarb says:

    hi all
    Greenwich council have agreed to “stagger” the increase – but wouldn’t give out details of what the prices would be.
    I’ve put some of the things they did agree to onto a couple of forums – allotments4all.co.uk and growfruitandveg.co.uk
    CR