The growing costs of fruit and veg...

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ALLOTMENT holders on one site in Bury St Edmunds are going to face increasing prices over the next few years.

The 120 tenants with existing allotments on the Bury Town Council-owned Cotton Lane site are currently paying £27.60 per year for a five square rod plot, but tenants on the new Cotton Lane site will pay £46 for the same size plot.

The new site, which will consist of around 35 plots, is being built on land leased from St Edmundsbury Borough Council, for which the town council will pay a negotiated fee per five square rod plot.

“The assumption is that the rent on the other plots will gradually move up so that there is less of a differential within the two,” said council clerk, Jen Larner.

The rent for the new site is fixed from April 1, 2011, until March 31, 2016, but the rent on the existing site is reviewed annually and tenants are given a year’s notice of charges.

Bill Browning, a member of the Cotton Lane Allotment Holders Association’s committee, said that the announcement would be made at the association’s annual general meeting next month.

“They won’t be surprised that the rent’s going up because there have been rumours in the past that it was going up,” he said.

Peter and Gillian Batchelor have had an allotment at Cotton Lane for more than 10 years. They use it to grow produce for their family and enjoy growing varieties of potato that are not readily available in the shops.

Mr Batchelor said that he was ‘horrified’ and ‘shocked’ to hear about the new charges. “We expect it to keep going up but when you’re on a fixed income it isn’t easy. We won’t be happy about it but if you want an allotment you don’t have a choice,” he said.

“We might have to give some of it up,” said Mrs Batchelor.

There are currently 175 people on the waiting list for an allotment on one of the council’s five sites, with an average wait of three years.