Allotments in water tax fear

PUBLISHED: 16:30 24 August 2008 | UPDATED: 09:33 10 June 2010

SUNDAY, AUGUST 24: A NEW water tax could be imposed on Exmouth's 390 allotment holders after it was revealed that water bills last year exceed £2,500. And new restrictions are also being drawn up following complaints about the burgeoning size of poly tunnels and fruit cages

A NEW water tax could be imposed on Exmouth's 390 allotment holders after it was revealed that water bills last year exceed £2,500.And new restrictions are also being drawn up following complaints about the burgeoning size of poly tunnels and fruit cages - used to aid the growth of fruit and vegetables.The decision follows a resurgence in the popularity of allotments as record numbers of Exmothians are growing there own food as the credit crunch bites.Town councillors on Monday gave their blessing for the Exmouth and District Allotments Association to impose the new policy following a complaint from a plot holder.The association is the second largest in the country, second only to Birmingham; and the number of plots has increased from around 350 in just a few years with a current four-year waiting list. Chairman of the association John Patrick said that new tunnels should be limited to 25 feet by 12 feet - one tunnel was more than 40 feet in length. Plot holders using poly tunnels would also be asked to collect rainwater and possibly even pay a water levy - plots with poly tunnels use more water than plots without.Mr Patrick said: "It was agreed 15 years ago that poly tunnels and fruit cages were temporary structures and did not need permission (unlike sheds)."However, if the plot holder had talked to us about it instead of making a complaint, we could have dealt with the problem without coming to the town council."We spent £2,500 on water last year."Cllr Steve Wragg said: "This is a perfectly reasonable request. "The allotment land in Exmouth is the best in the country."Chairman of the town council's General Purposes Committee Pauline Stott said: "The Allotment Association always comes up with good ideas - knows how to manage the allotments and we have no problems with this.

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