The results of a “flawed” council survey on the future of Leeds allotments are to be scrutinised, as the council seeks to increase plot rents by 60 per cent.
Gardeners feel Leeds City Council’s consultation was unclear, leading many plot holders to vote for rent rises without understanding all the options.
Leeds and District Gardeners’ Federation had been in discussions with Leeds City Council for plot holders to go into “partnership” with the authority to save costs. It is claimed the consultation sent out to the city’s 3,400 plot holders did not make this option clear, stating only ‘management by a third party’.
Coun Ryk Downes, deputy leader of the Leeds Lib Dem Group, is calling for the council’s Scrutiny Board for Safer and Stronger Communities to carry out an enquiry into the issue when it meets today.
He said: “The management ‘by a third party’ option put forward by the council was never clear, and self management was never put into the documentation. This invalidated the whole exercise in many people’s eyes.”
LDGF chairman Ian Wood said: “One or two officers are responsible for putting out this flawed consultation. It was badly worded and had too much jargon in it.”
The council is bidding to scrap the £133,000 subsidy it pays towards the cost of running allotments over the next three years, while cutting state pensioners’ discount to 20 per cent. If rent rises go ahead, plot holders at 97 Leeds sites paying the full rate would see rent almost double over the next three years – up to £72 a year by 2016. A council spokesman said the consultation, which included an option to submit alternatives to rent rises to the council, found 52 per cent of respondents supported rent rises.