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Hemsby allotment rents too high claim

PUBLISHED: 09:55 19 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:46 30 June 2010

PLANS to provide allotments in Hemsby look set to still go ahead, despite criticism of the proposed rents.

A group of residents attended a special meeting of the parish council on Monday night to quiz councillors about their proposals to develop plots on a section of the “Maize Maze” site in Yarmouth Road.

PLANS to provide allotments in Hemsby look set to still go ahead, despite criticism of the proposed rents.

A group of residents attended a special meeting of the parish council on Monday night to quiz councillors about their proposals to develop plots on a section of the “Maize Maze” site in Yarmouth Road.

The meeting was only open to villagers who had applied for one of the proposed 30 allotments.

The council plans on charging £100 a year for a large plot and £50 for a smaller plot but these costs were slammed as being too high - much more than charged elsewhere in the borough.

Councillors were asked if they could look for alternative land for cheaper rents, but this was turned down in favour of the site on the table. The councillors did agreed to look into the possibility of providing water on the site.

One further concession was to consider setting up an advisory body, appointed by the council, which would help with the running of the allotments site.

Noel Galer, chairman of the newly-formed Hemsby Allotments Association, said the advisory body would have no authority and the council could veto any of its recommendations.

He was not satisfied with the way the meeting in the village hall was conducted, particularly the fact it had been restricted to the 24 people who had applied for allotments, meaning some association members, as well as the press, could not attend.

However, Mr Galer, who has himself applied for an allotment, said the meeting itself still gave grounds for hope.

He added: “We were generally optimistic. It was a much better meeting providing an opportunity for debate on the proposals and I think people were generally optimistic that we were heading in the right direction.”

One association member who was left out in the freezing cold was Andy Usher, who was not aware of the restrictions after returning from work at sea in the Merchant Navy. He was worried the allotments would put holidaymakers off visiting the village, as they would standing on one of the main routes into the village.

He said: “I would like an allotment but I don't want one at any cost and it seems to me that it is being rushed. This meeting tonight I thought was so we could examine the whole issue and consider whether it was a good idea, but I am not allowed in unless I sign an application form!”

In January, the Mercury reported how a large allotment plot at Acle costs £22 a year, while a Caister plot would only be £20 a year.

Hemsby Parish Council would pay the landowner £800 a year for the 30 plot site close to the Jet garage and the money will be recouped from allotment holders' rents, as the site has to be completely self-financing.

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