Committee quits in allotment dispute


- Credit: Archant

THE entire committee of a Portishead Allotment Association has resigned after a row over running costs.

Gertie Gale’s Allotments, which are owned by Portishead Town Council, opened for business in 2011.

By request of the council, a committee of volunteers formed the Gertie Gale’s Allotment Association in 2012 to help run the small plots of land.

But when they were told to administer the allotments on £110 a year, committee members said it was an impossible task and resigned en masse.

Speaking at the town council’s March meeting, former association chairman Gerry Thompson, said: “The council set the plot rent which will total £1,610 a year income.

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“They want to keep £1,500 of that, leaving us with £110 to cover grass cutting, administration and maintenance of the gate, car park, hut and fencing.

Grass cutting costs have been estimated at £500 a year or if we cut the grass ourselves we will need to obtain public liability insurance.”

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Former secretary Lori Rowsell said: “As secretary of the allotment association I willingly gave my time to help the council manage the allotments.

“I pay my plot rent, my council tax and the precept. I did not expect to have to fundraise to cover the shortfall in council funding required to run the allotments.”

Mrs Rowsell also said that many of the allotment holders would have been prepared to pay higher rent to cover running costs but the council did not take that idea forward.

The council offered to give a mower to the allotment association as part of the set-up cost of the site and offered the association a 50 per cent rebate in 2013 and a 25 per cent rebate in 2014.

The committee members refused the offer, saying they needed to know that the long-term future was secure and they were not just looking for a short-term solution.

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