In its first Allotment Strategy: Cultivating Communities(2002) City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) adopted the following comparability factors:
- The level of allotment rents in the rest of Scotland and the scale in England
- costs of other outdoor recreational or leisure activities provided by the authority.
The second of these factors was underpinned by the court case of Harwood v Reigate & Banstead Borough Councils in the High Court Chancery Division when Mr Harwood challenged a 300% rent rise and succeeded. The judge ruled that as other amenity charges had not been raised in proportion this was a discriminatory practice and unlawful. The full transcript can be read here
So what has happened to allotment rents? Since 2005
- Edinburgh allotment rents have gone up 267% and are set to £100 for 2014.
- Glasgow rents meantime have tracked the RPI and are currently £33.50
- In the same period the cost of an Edinburgh Leisure Card has dropped from £43 to £25 and the following increases made on the sports tariff:
So inflation for Edinburgh golfers is 6%. For allotment gardeners it is 267% !
What happened to the comparability factors? They have been dropped in a dash for cash. Clearly allotment holders are an easy target. Once FEDAGA sided with the Council the rest of the 1,300 Edinburgh Alltment holders were deprived of a voice.
No one can be in any doubt that City of Edinburgh allotment rent rises are illegal.
*Note - this post has been updated to include data for the current year