ALLOTMENT holders have raised a petition calling on Kingston Council to hold a scrutiny meeting into its decision to increase allotment rents by 12 per cent.
Under council rules if 100 residents ask for something to be scrutinised, the item will be given time at one of the monthly meetings of the scrutiny panel. Labour Cllr Steve Mama is encouraging people to write in and request the meeting after his pleas to the council's executive were ignored.
The increase, which will come into force next January follows a three per cent increase in April, bringing the cost of a full plot to £69 or £34.50 for a half plot.
"It might not sound like a lot of money but most allotment holders are pensioners," he said. "They're finding it hard enough to cope at the moment without this extra blow. It is a huge, unjustified increase.
"The council is supposed to be encouraging residents to eat healthily and take exercise, but they're making it harder for older people to do this. Rent hikes of this nature are unjustified and fall particularly hard on residents who use allotments as their main hobby and recreation.
“The only allotment site we have in Norbiton ward is in Kingston Road and is in need of major repair work to its fencing, footpaths and water tanks. There is no justification for such a rent hike unless the Council provides a plan to improve our allotments”, he stated.