Allotment holders in Bristol face a planned 25% rise in rents as size of waiting list is revealed

The cost of renting the largest allotment plots would rise by almost £80 a year

The cost of renting an allotment from Bristol City Council could be increased by a quarter, under proposals for the authority’s upcoming budget.

A hike in annual rents would help save at least £55,000, says the council which faces the challenge of bridging a £19.5 million gap in its budget for 2022/23.

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The proposal is among a list of ways to generate more money which is expected to be rubber-stamped by the ruling Cabinet today (January 18), before going before Full Council for a decision next month.

At the same time, the council has revealed that the Bristol Allotment Service has a waiting list of more than 6,000 people for 4,500 allotment plots.

The cost of renting an allotment in Bristol could rise by 25%

The council paper on the rental increase says previous rises in rents have not stopped the growth in demand for land to grow fruit and vegetables.

Under the proposal, the cost of the smallest plot size, 1 to 75 metres squared, would go up from £30 to £37.50.

While the rent on the largest plots, 705 to 1,000 metres squared, would rise from £305 to £381.2.

The proposed increased cost in allotment rents by size of plot (Credit: Bristol City Council)

Prices were last raised in 2018.

In Bristol, latest figures from the city’s Quality of Life Survey in 2020/21 show 56% of adults were eating the recommended five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

However, this ranged from 42% in Lawrence Hill ward, to 68% in Redland.

As part of the paper proposing the increase in rents, the council accepted there was a risk it could ‘place an additional barrier in the way of people benefiting from allotments’.

Table showing previous increases in rents for allotments (Credit: Bristol City Council)

It said: “Increased to allotment fees may have a disproportionate impact on people living in low-income households, or reduce equality of opportunity for groups who already use green spaces, exercise or eat healthy food less often.”

But then it said discounts for people receiving Universal Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax reductions would continue to be given, along with the opportunity to pay in instalments.

And it added: “Despite previous increases in allotment rent, the demand for allotment plots continues to grow.”

Money raised would also allow the service to invest in resources to promote allotments and food growing in the city.

People who have allotments would be given a 12-month notice of any increase, if the budget was passed.

Other measures to generate money as part of the proposed 2022/23 budget include a review of free car parks and introducing car parking charges at parks and open spaces across the city.

Workforce costs will also be cut through voluntary redundancies and leaving vacancies unfilled.

To see the proposed budget in full, click here