A Town Hall chief has hit back in a cabbage patch row over allotment rents in Preston.
Gardeners this week slammed the city council for increasing charges and scrapping concessions for the elderly and unemployed.
But Coun Robert Boswell, cabinet member for community and environment, denied rents had gone up across the board this year and insisted the 33 per cent concessions would be continuing, but only for smaller plots.
“We have two types of allotment – large and small,” said Coun Boswell.
“For about four years we have split the large allotments when they became vacant.
“This helps reduce the waiting list.
“Normally this would be a be a very slow process. So we have a series of carrot and stick policies to try and speed up the process.”
Coun Boswell revealed the waiting list for allotments in Preston had been cut from six years to three in the past two years using the policy of down-sizing the bigger plots. He added: “We would like as many people as possible to use allotments. So we have a policy of reducing the waiting list to spread the benefit of being an allotment holder around.
“We feel that is only fair to the council tax payers of Preston. One way would be to expand our allotment provision – however, that is limited and takes time. We have frozen for several years the price of the smaller plot at £35.
“The subsidy to pensioners and the unemployed still exists for smaller allotments.
“We will also give any large plot holder who agrees to split their allotment 12 months free rent if they agree to mentor the new plot holder on the newly split plot.”