Agenda item


Scrutiny feedback on the Allotment Service.


·       Scrutiny Feedback on the Allotment Service


Cabinet AGREED to have regard to the Scrutiny Committee’s feedback.


Scrutiny Feedback on the Allotment Service


Councillor Robert Child, Chair of Scrutiny Committee introduced the report,

advising that of the 5 allotment sites in Melton, the Council managed 3 sites

(at Lake Terrace, Redwood Avenue and Doctors Lane) and an allotment

association managed 2 sites (at Victoria Street and the Crescent).  Scrutiny

Committee had reviewed information on the location, condition,

accessibility, occupancy levels, charging structure, income from fees,

expenditure and the need for future considerations for the sites.  The

Committee provided the following feedback:


·       The service recorded a loss over the last 6 years (when including support costs in calculations)

·       Fencing improvements costs at the 3 Council managed sites were estimated at £50k.  If the sites were self-managed by an allotment association, the Council would not bear the associated staff support costs and would be able to recover the fencing costs over a number of years.

·       The estimated fencing costs appeared to be inflated and would be subject to a procurement process.  Currently there was no budget in the 2022/23 budget estimates for fencing.

·       Self-managed allotments, managed by an allotment association should be considered, although issues such as vandalism may cause some allotment holders to be reluctant to this.

·       Any fencing erected by the Council (if funds become available) should be high security to protect the allotments from vandalism.

·       Condition surveys had identified that the repairs were not urgent/health and safety risks and as such there was no support for any budget.

·       There was no budget allocated for the allotment competition, which had been held in previous years.

·       It was suggested that allotment tenants be asked to relocate to enable raised beds to be installed

·       There had been no complaints to the Council from allotment tenants over the last 3 years but it would be useful to gain tenant feedback on the Council’s service.

·       Members were reassured that as standard allotment sites, the sites would not be used for housing development, unless the Council decided to decommission them and then followed a lengthy legal process.

·       Members were encouraged at the suggestion of planning more allotment sites, as part as the Melton Mowbray Distributor Road (MMDR).

·       The current term for allotment tenancies was for an indefinite period.  Support was expressed for shorter tenancies, as the Council may be able to regain the tenancy more quickly, particularly in cases of disrepair.

·       The outstanding debt for this service stood at £822 and there had been 50 different debts written off over the last six years.  There was concern that 10% of tenants were paying in arrears and that it may be difficult for the Council to obtain payment at the end of some tenancies.


The Leader commented on the good work undertaken by Scrutiny Committee and noted that it was encouraging that more allotments were planned as a result of the MMDR development.


In response to a question from the Leader, Councillor Child confirmed that currently there was a waiting list for allotment tenancies.


During discussion the following points were noted:


·       Members thanked Scrutiny Committee for their feedback.  Much work had been undertaken by the Committee and its report was comprehensive.

·       The allotment waiting list could be reviewed to determine if there were particular areas in Melton which needed additional allotment land.

·       The Portfolio Holder for Growth and Regeneration would visit allotment sites with officers to consider various issues, such as fencing, raised beds etc.

·       There was some reluctance expressed over the expenditure for fencing.

·       The allotment sites were subject to some vandalism but the extent of this was not confirmed at the meeting.

·       Difference in rental charge between cl and management company and different sizes between allotments plots on cl and managed side

·       It was noted that a full allotment plot was approximately 250 square metres and a half plot was 125 square metres.

·       There were 30 full plots and 16 half plots at Lake Terrace, 7 full plots and 14 half plots at Redwood and 44 full plots and 20 half plots at Doctor’s Lane.  These sites were manages by the Council.

·       There was 1 full plot and 25 half plots at Victoria Street and 10 full plots and 26 half plots at the Crescent.  These sites were managed by an association.

·       At the time of the report, there were 7 vacant plots at Lake Terrace, none at Redwood and 4 at Doctor’s Lane.


Cabinet AGREED to have regard to the Scrutiny Committee’s feedback.

Supporting documents: