Driffield Town Council is to increase allotment rents from £20 per plot to £30 from April 1 to fund vital road improvements at the Cemetery Lane site.
The Allotment committee had recommended the rise after calls for the roads, which are in a very poor state, to be repaired and improved.
The Town Council has more than 100 allotment plots at the site and has tried for many years to keep the rents low. Quotations for the road works were more than £4,000 and it was felt that that this could not be met entirely from council funds and that the rents must reflect this increase in investment. Town Clerk Claire Binnington said rents in neighbouring towns were considerably more than £20 and that it was not unreasonable to apply an increase of 50%, which equated to 57p per week. The Mayor, Coun Heather Venter said: “It is rare these days to find a hobby or pastime that incurs a cost of only 57p per week.” Allotment Officer Dave Acey had appealed to councillors not to raise the rents by 50% as he felt this would be unfair to those on benefits as many allotment tenants were pensioners. Members of the Allotment Committee, councillors Steve Poessl and Joyce Fletcher, both said during a meeting that they felt the rise represented great value for money - even to £30 per year.
Mrs Binnington said: “The council has analysed the on-going costs of running the allotments over recent years – the waste management, grass cutting, hedge maintenance, water rates, vermin control and staff time, both of the Tidy Team and the office. Now that the roads require attention, the council could no longer maintain current plot rents and had little choice but to consider and agree this rise’.