WHEN Jim Wilson was Hartlepool Borough Council garden inspector it took four people four days to inspect 1,100 allotments.
With respect, one man could do the inspection in 16 days.
He could inspect four times a year between March and November, taking up to 64 days a year.
No need for inspections from November to March.
The ground is too wet to work.
A semi-retired man or woman with good knowledge of allotments could do this job, working from home.
No need for a photo of every allotment.
No need for photo ID.
Chester Road allotments were given to the people of Hartlepool by Sir William Gray, costing the council zero in 1939.
The only cost since was when the water pipes were replaced some years ago, and when a recent perimeter fence was erected.
What happened to all the rent paid since 1939?
Now we have an allotment team, at a very substantial cost to the town.
I believe in the region of £200,000 to £300,000 wages for the team, office staff, expenses, lighting, heating and upkeep of office space in Church Street.
I also feel a 25 per cent rent rise for 2014, then a further 25 per cent in 2015, is far too high in a town which has to hand out food parcels and run soup kitchens.
Briarfields allotments were given by J W Cameron for the people.
The council is only the landlord.
The council put the plot holders off the plot.
The holders fought and had a few plots reinstated, at a very high cost to the town.
It should never have happened as the council team is telling people there is a very long waiting list.
A little thought could have saved a lot of money.
I also feel the old system of transfer of allotments should be brought back, which would save a lot of allotments from becoming derelict.
The old system allowed the tenant to pass the allotment on, to advertising if necessary, and get the value of any greenhouses, pigeon duckets, tools and livestock.
People are not selling the allotment.
The person taking over the plot carries on renting the plot.
No expense to the council, a mere transfer form.
I’m a plot holder for over 50 years.