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Allotment holders face sharp rise in annual fees.

ALLOTMENT holders in Tyneside face forking out more to tend their plots.

North Tyneside Council is raising allotment fees from October, with more changes planned for next year.

Some plot holders claim the new arrangements will see their costs as much as double.

Gary Aston, who has a plot at a Camperdown allotments site, has received a letter saying his fee will be pounds 180 from next year, twice his current charge of pounds 90.

The 54-year-old civil servant, of Greenhills, Camperdown, said: "I was shocked by the size of the increase - pounds 90 to pounds 180 is a big jump. They are doing this at a time of recession when many people are struggling to make ends meet."

Mr Aston, who took up the allotment 11 years ago, has written to the council asking for his allotment to be measured as the price rise is based on a plot of 420sqm. The council, which has 46 allotment sites with 1,254 plots, subsidises its service. It says costs have risen and last year the subsidies hit pounds 11,037.

Costs for plots are rising 10% from this year, adding up to pounds 12.40 a year for the largest plots. In addition, the authority also plans to bring in a new method of charging next year which could see medium or large plot-holders being asked to pay more again.

A spokesman said: "From October 2013, new allotment charges will more closely reflect the size of the plot. These new, fairer fees will see many allotment users pay less for their plots.

"We have over 1,500 people on our allotment waiting list, and if larger allotment holders wish to reduce their fees, they could consider downsizing their plot."
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 29, 2012
Words:289
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