Parishioners are subsidising farmers in their village

During this period of austerity you would think that local government would take every opportunity to reduce household financial burdens. Lutton Parish Council had that opportunity a couple of weeks ago by increasing allotment rent, but didn’t.

During this period of austerity you would think that local government would take every opportunity to reduce household financial burdens. Lutton Parish Council had that opportunity a couple of weeks ago by increasing allotment rent, but didn’t.

Hang on you might say, aren’t allotments there to provide parishioners with the opportunity to grow their own fruit and veg, so are worthy of parish support?

Of course. However, it appears that over time more and more allotment acreage has been taken up by those that sell their produce.

Lutton parish owns about 33 acres of allotments but more than 32 of those acres are used commercially (easy to spot – they’re the plots planted with a single crop).

So what’s the problem?

Simple, this parish council currently charges the equivalent of £92 a year per acre but the going rate for the rent of arable farmland is about £250 pa.

Effectively, Lutton parishioners are subsidising these farmers to the tune of about £5,000 a year. Not a particularly large amount in the scale of government fiscal incompetency but that figure represents well over a quarter of this year’s Lutton parish precept. Is that a fair use of parishioner’s money?

You might also like to know that some of this commercially used acreage is rented by one of our district councillors; a councillor that doesn’t even live within the parish.

Am I alone in becoming increasingly concerned that some of our local councillors don’t appear to have the best interests of their electorate in mind and have a poor understanding of the word ethics?

Finally, how about taking a walk around your own parish?

I’ll wager you find some of your allotments are also being used commercially and you are also subsidising their rent.

Andrew MacDonald

Lutton Gowts