Hartlepool council considers new charges for allotments and tip
The cost of having an allotment in Hartlepool is set to go up as a council department looks to save more than Â£1 million.
Charges are due to be increased from 15p per square metre to 42p per square metre.
New charges to dispose of building waste and non-household rubbish at the Household Waste Recycling Centre, in Burn Road, are also set to be introduced.
They are among a range of measures designed to generate £275,000 for the council’s Neighbourhood Services department, which says it has to find £1.225m of savings over the next three years.
Up to 14 redundancies could also be made.
Allotment holders are due to be given a year’s official notice of the proposed increase in April.
Councillor Marjorie James, chairwoman of the Neighbourhood Services Committee, said it was unfair that taxpayers were subsidising something people choose to do by £70,000-£100,000 a year.
The increase is said to be in line with what neighbouring councils charge and will fully fund allotment running costs.
Coun James said, based on an average plot size of 250 square metre, the new charge would mean holders pay £105 a year or about £2 a week.
Coun James said: “People who have allotments are making that choice to have them and have access to them seven days a week if they wish.
“To be fair, spread over a whole week, it’s negligible the amount of money.
“The fact of the matter is we don’t have these choices anymore.”
Coun Paul Beck said: “All we are really doing is bringing us in line with what other authorities are doing.”
But Coun George Springer voted against the rise, saying the council was making things harder for allotment holders.
He said: “I think the waiting list is going to reduce if we keep on taxing them to do what’s good for them.”
Denise Ogden, director of neighbourhoods and regeneration, said service reviews were necessary due to the scale of continued budget cuts.
Ms Ogden said: “It is getting harder to find cuts, savings, efficiencies, whatever you want to call them.
“At the end of the day it’s real money that we have got to find.”
Under the new waste charges at Burn Road, people will be charged £12 for up to 25kg of asbestos-based building materials; £3 per 25kg of plasterboard, soil, rubble and plate glass; and £3 per tyre.
Coun Springer said he believed it will result in more flytipping. But Ms Ogden said: “Analysis of the market demonstrates the majority of people are prepared to pay for this.”