Water charges for allotment holders

ALLOTMENT rents in Ipswich have been frozen - but holders are still set to have to pay more next year after a water charge was introduced.Ipswich council has decided to charge allotment holders for the water used on their plots in addition to their annual rental.

ALLOTMENT rents in Ipswich have been frozen - but holders are still set to have to pay more next year after a water charge was introduced.

Ipswich council has decided to charge allotment holders for the water used on their plots in addition to their annual rental.

All holders will be charged the same amount for their water as the total allotment bill will be divided by the number of allotment holders.

It will be charged retrospectively - and had the charge been introduced in 2005/6 it would have been £7.40 per allotment.

That sum is equal to an increase in allotment rental of 25 per cent for people paying full cost of an average allotment - £30 - and more than 28 pc for those on the concessionary rate of £26 a year.

Ipswich council's leisure spokeswoman Judy Terry said the decision to charge for water had been made because bills had increased dramatically over the years.

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She said: “We hope this will encourage allotment-holders to be a bit more careful with the amount of water they use and that it will encourage them to report any leaks to us sooner.

“We aren't able to monitor exactly what everyone uses so we shall divide the total bill among all allotment holders. We hope they will encourage each other to be careful about the amount they use.”

Opposition leisure spokesman John Mowles was concerned that the new fee would not take any account of the ability to pay - and felt it was a way of increasing the council's revenue while claiming rents had been frozen.

He said: “I know that in the overall scheme of things this is not a great sum of money, but the fact that it takes no account of concessionary rents is very disappointing.

“In percentage terms it is a very steep rise - and more so for those paying concessionary rents. It seems that this administration is not interested in having reduced charges for those who don't have so much money.”