Price of Bristol allotment branded 'excessive' as city council plans to double rent

Allotment in Bristol will by more expensive to rent soon.

Allotment rent prices in Bristol are set to more than double by 2026. 

The first half of the rent hike will take place next year, and the second half will be introduced in 2026.

Rent for a medium-size plot with water will increase from £70 to £113 next year, and then £156 in 2026. 

There are 4,500 allotment plots in the city and Bristol City Council has not increased the rent since 2018. 

There are also about 6,500 people waiting for an allotment. 

While the council scrapped controversial changes to allotment rules, rent increases are still going ahead.

According to cabinet reports, new discounts will be offered including for people on low incomes, or with plots that flood or are overgrown.

Jon James, head of natural and marine environment, said: “We’ve had maintenance and staffing budgets reduced. That’s resulted in a decline in what we can actually do.

"We’ve looked at what investment we need to make so that we can start improving and addressing the backlog of maintenance, like repairs to water supply and fences.

“We’re currently just responding to effectively emergency work. We’re not in a position where we can proactively manage our sites. That’s what we want to focus the income on, so we can start a programme of work addressing that.”

Council officers estimated how much they need to spend to address the maintenance backlog over the next 15 years, and used that figure to come to the proposed rent increases.

The target is to raise £55,000 extra income from rents, to help pay the ongoing maintenance.

Thousands of people are on the waiting list for an allotment in Bristol. Credit: LDRS

Patsy Mellor, director of management of place, added: “We heavily subsidise the allotment service, but we’ve reduced that subsidy by about £55,000 by increasing the rent.

"It will not turn into a profit-making scenario. The council will still be heavily subsidising the allotments.”

Bristol Allotmenteers Resist continue to protest against the rent rises. On Sunday 3 March they met at Castle Park to “tell Bristol City Council they can stuff their excessive rent rises up their asparagus”. 

The rent increases are likely to be approved by the cabinet during a public meeting on Tuesday 5 March. 

Credit: LDRS, Alex Seabrook