Cuts have decimated Bolton's allotment service, meeting told

The Bolton News: An award-winning allotment in Astley Bridge, belonging to Christine and Bernard Fallon An award-winning allotment in Astley Bridge, belonging to Christine and Bernard Fallon

ALLOTMENT holders from across the town came together to hear how cuts have wiped out Bolton Council’s budget for the service.

From April 2014 there will be a “zero base budget” for allotments in Bolton, and no dedicated officer for plot holders to come to with their problems.

Instead, the only money that will be available to spend on Bolton allotments is the money raised in rents — approximately £31,500 a year — which will cover site repairs, provision of water and other services.

Previously the council has spent an extra £18,000 on the service.

The change in funding was agreed last year, after the environmental services department was told to find £3.4 million worth of savings for 2014 to 2015.

At the meeting at Astley Bridge Cricket Club, Malcolm Russell, head of environmental services at the council, spoke to the members of the Association of Bolton Allotment Sites (ABAS) about how it will impact on its members.

He said: “The decisions about this are set down by government and by politicians. These are not things that are going to happen. These are things that have happened.”

He added that to be most effective, members of Bolton’s 32 allotment societies needed to join ABAS, which will act as one voice when dealing with the council in future.

Mr Russell said: “We very much see that ABAS has the potential of being a representative society of all allotment societies.

“But we are conscious that we can only use ABAS as the umbrella organisation if it is truly representative.“ Dave Jackson, assistant secretary of ABAS, said it was vital for allotment holders to come together to support each other through the changes.

He said: “There are so many things that can go wrong on an allotment site — this weather is finding every gap in the drains.

“There’s lots of interesting ways to getting around this and I hope we’re going to explore them now. We are going to need to be creative.”

Comments (3)

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1:31pm Thu 13 Feb 14

cliff4treasurer says...

The cuts are not responsible for prioritising this service the council do that.
What the council have done, like most other labour (new labour?) councils up and down this country is play politics with budgets and services.
The council have decimated every service they can to lay blame at the tory door whilst retaining non services that cost millions like the council publicity machine.
If put to a vote would the citizens of this town prefer a thriving allotment service or the continuation of the council rag "Bolton scene" which is no more than a brochure to promote the council and it's rhetoric? no longer delivered I might add to most homes in tory held wards!
No, sorry, this council have made choices on budget cuts that affect the old and young alike ,this fiasco ,the running down of youth services, the elimination of sports development etc. etc.
The sad thing is we can never get rid of labour in this town because they pander to the great unwashed and unemployed, who are again sadly in a majority, and most of whom vote, or have there votes cast by others!
The cuts are not responsible for prioritising this service the council do that. What the council have done, like most other labour (new labour?) councils up and down this country is play politics with budgets and services. The council have decimated every service they can to lay blame at the tory door whilst retaining non services that cost millions like the council publicity machine. If put to a vote would the citizens of this town prefer a thriving allotment service or the continuation of the council rag "Bolton scene" which is no more than a brochure to promote the council and it's rhetoric? no longer delivered I might add to most homes in tory held wards! No, sorry, this council have made choices on budget cuts that affect the old and young alike ,this fiasco ,the running down of youth services, the elimination of sports development etc. etc. The sad thing is we can never get rid of labour in this town because they pander to the great unwashed and unemployed, who are again sadly in a majority, and most of whom vote, or have there votes cast by others! cliff4treasurer
  • Score: 6

2:03pm Thu 13 Feb 14

steveG says...

Cliff paints a bleak picture of our town our Council and their motives,the sad thing is he's right.
Cliff paints a bleak picture of our town our Council and their motives,the sad thing is he's right. steveG
  • Score: 4

10:59am Fri 14 Feb 14

Jim271 says...

Nice to see Cliff4treasurer branding all labour voters as the great unwashed and unemployed,

Perhaps he can brand Muslims as terrorists, Irish people as stupid or Jewish people greedy.

He's showing his pig ignorance at last, well done, you UKIP membership form is in the post,
Nice to see Cliff4treasurer branding all labour voters as the great unwashed and unemployed, Perhaps he can brand Muslims as terrorists, Irish people as stupid or Jewish people greedy. He's showing his pig ignorance at last, well done, you UKIP membership form is in the post, Jim271
  • Score: -1

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