Allotment holders’ views aired in debate on fees

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News release: 07 July 2017

Members of the City Neighbourhoods Committee heard the views of allotment holders in a debate about allotment fees at a meeting on Wednesday 28 June.

The Committee oversees the management of local assets in the centre of St Albans, including city centre allotments. 

It is currently looking at options to increase the annual fees paid by allotment holders. Current fees do not cover the cost to St Albans City and District Council of servicing and maintaining the sites. 

At the meeting a representative of the combined allotments associations, Christine Hood, raised concerns about the highest fee increases proposed.

Ms Hood asked the Committee to consider the “management services” allotment holders provide for free when looking at fees. These include advising new allotment holders and maintaining communal areas. She said allotments also contribute to biodiversity and help improve the health of the holders by encouraging exercise, a fresh diet and social interaction. 

“We do provide an awful lot,” she added. “I don’t know how that could be costed, but it needs to be taken into consideration.”

Committee members thanked Ms Hood for her presentation. During the debate that followed , some members expressed concern about the highest rate increases proposed and suggested a rate of inflation increase instead. Other members felt that all options should be considered by the Committee.

The Committee will now make a decision on allotment fees at its next meeting on 27 September.

Cllr Alun Davies, Chair of the City Neighbourhoods Committee of St Albans City and District Council, said: “Committee members listened to the views of allotment holders that were kindly put forward at the meeting by Christine. The presentation promoted a lengthy and detailed debate and we will now make a decision on fees at our September meeting.

Joining in the debate were representatives from local residents’ associations that have just joined the Committee. The new members are: Longacres Residents Association, Charrington Place Residents Association, Jubilee Residents Association and Sandridge Road Residents Association.

Cllr Davies added: “As Chair, I was pleased to welcome onto the Committee these four new member residents’ associations. They join eleven other residents’ associations and help bolster the membership of the Committee which also includes elected District Councillors.”

At the meeting, the Committee received an update on the new replacement steps and ramp being installed at Clarence Park. Weather permitting, the work should be completed and the entrance opened by the end of July.

Members were also provided with a report on play areas under the management of the Committee and possible funding sources for improvements.

The agenda papers for the meeting on 28 June are available on the Council’s website. The meeting was also webcast.

Councillor contact:
Cllr Alun Davies, Chair of the City Neighbourhoods Committee of St Albans City and District Council 
Tel 07779 616006 

Contact for the media:
Amanda Wilkinson, 
Senior Communications Officer 
St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01727 819317 
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The City Neighbourhoods Committee, makes decisions on issues affecting residents in the eight unparished wards of the District. These are: Ashley, Batchwood, Clarence, Cunningham, Marshalswick South, Sopwell, St Peters and Verulam.
The Committee’s remit is non-strategic city centre assets including smaller parks, war memorials, allotments, public conveniences, playgrounds and open spaces. A register of assets is available online.
The Committee includes elected Councillors and representatives from residents associations and neighbourhood forums meeting certain criteria.