Allotments, changing rooms, skips and memorials to loved ones will see price hikes as council chiefs look to balance the books.

Brighton and Hove City Council has signed off on planned increases, claiming it was forced into the rises as it looked to meet Government-imposed cuts.

It added some of the double-digit increases were to cover annual administration and enforcement costs.

But opposition councillors, who said the ending of the historic allotment subsidy seeing a 67% rise over two years, did not “make sense”.

They added they were concerned about the “cumulative impact” the rises would have on users who would also be affected by increases to parking charges and other fees.

Environment cabinet member Pete West said: “The council is operating under unprecedented financial pressure, with the Government cutting our grant by a third over four years.

“We had planned to remove the historic allotment subsidy but, thanks to the prudent financial management of this council, we have been able to stagger this over two years.

“As well as paying for the hire of the plot, the fees cover the cost of maintenance staff, pest control, water provision, fencing and security.

“We have a thriving community of allotment enthusiasts and we are keen to see this continue.”

Among the other things to face double-digit percentage increases in the next financial year are scaffolding (up 61%), skips (up 40% for seven days) and cricket pavilion and pitch hire (up 41%).

Conservative councillor Geoffrey Theobald said: “Allotments are one of the great success stories in Brighton and Hove and it seems to me that the Greens are piggybacking on that success to try to raise extra revenue.

“It does not make sense.”

Labour and Co-op councillor Gill Mitchell said: “There’s a double edge with the allotment increases. If the council puts up charges by this amount the council needs to provide a good service.”

There are 2,919 allotment plots in the city and there are almost 2,000 people on the waiting list.

The increases will come into force on April 1, but they could be altered before then, as they form part of the budget process which will be finalised at a meeting of full council on February 23.

Fees and charges increases

Allotment Rents £33 to £44.20 up 34% (historic subsidy to be fully removed in 2013/14 seeing this rise to £55.40 – up 67%)
Donated Trees (includes Vat) £144 to £288 up 100%
Dedicated Benches (Includes Vat) £569 to £921.85 up 62%
Plaques for dedicated benches (Includes Vat) £114 to £116 up 1.8%
Cricket (with pavilion) £56 to £79 up 41%
Football (with changing rooms) £56 to £80 up 43%
Scaffolding – six weeks £31 to £50 up 61%
Standard 1 day licence £5 no change
7 day £12 to £20 up 40%
28 days £33 to £40 up 17.5%
Large 1 day new £20
7 day new £40
28 day new £80
A-boards on streets
New application £70 to £85 up 21.4%
Annual renewal fee £49 to £60 up 22.4%
Other increases for recreational use are done by the council’s inflation rate of 2%.

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