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01/09/2009

Oxford allotment rent rises are welcomed


allotments, oxford

THE cost of renting an allotment in Oxford will increase as part of a wholesale review of plot charges.

Oxford City Council is conducting an audit of how much it charges associations to cultivate land across the city – the first review of allotment charges in seven years.

Negotiations with many associations have finished, but the process will not end until March, with the new charges lasting until 2015.

The Town Hall said the rental increases were calculated in line with inflation and were likely to be roughly the same across the city, with any variation in rent reflecting the quality of facilities and potential problems with flooding.

There are 36 allotment sites in Oxford.

So far, 14 allotment associations have reached an agreement with the council over a new scale of charges, all of which have been supported by the Oxford and District Federation of Allotments Association.

Negotiations with nine other associations are set to be completed by March. The other 13 allotment sites are dealt with under separate rental agreements.

Last night the associations that had not yet reached an agreement with the city council were urged to accept the rent increases.

Osney, St Thomas and New Botley Allotment Association, off Botley Road, rents 17 acres of allotments from the council – just over 10 per cent of the total space in the city.

Since 2001 it has been paying £1,097 a year for the land.

Association secretary John Power said the figure had now risen to £1,331 – up from £63 to £76 per acre. He added: “We are very pleased with the outcome.

“The rent increase is reasonable and allows us to plan our finances over the next six years.

“It gives us long-term financial stability, for which we are grateful.

“I am critical of the council in many ways, but not about allotments.

“They have won national trophies for the fact they lease to associations not individuals.”

It currently costs £14 a year to rent an allotment at Osney.

Source: The Oxford Times

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