In a dramatic turn of events, allotments holders in Welwyn Hatfield have won their battle against the 200 per cent price hike by one vote. 

At a Welwyn Hatfield Council meeting on Wednesday (March 15), allotment holders came out in their droves to voice their opinions on the price hike, due to begin in April. 

Liberal Democrat and Labour groups put forward a motion to reverse the 200 per cent rise, and instead change this to an inflation-based increase. 

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The motion was passed, with 22 siding with the reversal of the price hike and 21 going against the motion. 

Caron Juggins was the only Conservative party member who voted in favour of reversing the 200 per cent increase.  

Caron said: "I would like to say that I did make a mistake looking at the budget. 146 pages, and I think there was two lines about allotments - and so I am supporting this motion."

During the meeting, Lib Dem councillor Sandreni Bonfante said: "I think something that should be addressed is that with the increase of 200 per cent, it makes it harder for younger people to get into allotments, and I think it discriminates against younger people when it's this high of a price. 

"I think it's very important for younger people to get involved in allotment activities, because these days babies learn how to use an iPad before they learn how to speak. 

Welwyn Hatfield Times: The votes tallied up at the council meeting.The votes tallied up at the council meeting. (Image: Campbell McCaig)

"Being more involved in the natural world, learning how to grow and how to take care of things is such an important skill that we are losing as a generation, and one of the ways we as a council can help them with that is by giving them access to allotments."

Cllr Bonfante added: "It's not that we can't afford to do this, it's that we can't afford to not do this. I think it's very important that we encourage young people to use these facilities, but this is doing the exact opposite. We need to do better as a council, all of us." 

Conservative councillor, Sunny Thusu, said: "This is quite difficult because as a group we did have a meeting with officers and percentages were not agreed, but numbers were and reluctantly - based on the financial situation that was presented to us by officers - I agreed to the budget. 

"Ultimately, it is a decision that we made collectively. It may well be actually wrong, but it was right at the time."

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Moneyhole allotments on a sunny day.Moneyhole allotments on a sunny day. (Image: Gopika Madhu)

Campbell Mac, a Moneyhole allotment holder and a key member of the campaign to reverse the price hike, said: "I am over the moon. After everything, we won.

"It shows that when people come together, you can't take over us. 

"Now we just have to wait for the new changes to be implemented, and to see what the allotment holders will be paying." 

Upon seeing the final vote, Campbell celebrated by loudly declaring to the chamber, "power to the people". 

Allotment holders also wanted to give recognition to Martyn Imlach, of Deerswood allotments, who visited all plot sites to get everyone on board, spent hours every night going through allotment society rules, submitted FOI requests, and started a Facebook group for the community.


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A spokesperson from Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council said: "We understand how important allotments are to our residents. We also have a responsibility to set a balanced budget, which increasingly means making difficult decisions.

"Following debate at the council meeting on March 15, members voted to substitute the allotment rent increase already agreed for 2023/24 with an increase in line with inflation.

“Reducing the allotment rents from those previously agreed by council does have implications for our budget and council tax setting, and we will need to identify and agree how this shortfall in funding will be addressed.

"A special council meeting will therefore take place on Friday, March 24. An agenda and report are available on the council website.”