A row over allotment rents in Leeds is rumbling on despite a historic High Court judgement intended to settle the issue.
The 2,500-strong Leeds and District Allotment Gardeners Federation is accusing Leeds City Council of trying to get around the judge’s ruling which quashed the authority’s attempt to raise rents.
The Federation mounted a successful legal challenge against the council’s bid to increase plot rents from £37 to £72 over three years.
Now, gardeners are worried about a separate issue – an attempt to reduce the income allotment associations keep from rents to manage sites, from two-thirds to a third.
The judge ruled rent increases were unlawful, as proper procedures were not followed. Federation acting chairman Paul Lattimer said that the council is seeking leave to appeal.
“In September the council decided to impose the same rent increases that were quashed by the court over three years, only moved forward a year.
“This is without any further consultation which, we understand, they are obliged to carry out,” he said.
Paul said the council has a plan to limit the amount of rent that associations can keep to manage sites: “It will never be more than 32 per cent of rent collected.
“At present it is 66.6 per cent of the rent collected. In Leeds, over half of sites are self-managed. Associations are concerned. We think they will reluctantly sign the new leases and see if they can manage.
“If they can’t, it could mean the end of self-management on many sites,” Paul argued.
A spokesperson for Leeds City Council said: “We have submitted an application seeking to appeal following a judgement at the High Court in August, regarding proposed increases in allotment rent charges.
“We will not be commenting any further at this current time,” he added.