Windsor and Maidenhead council to auction allotments

Allotment The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council is selling 14 new plots

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A Berkshire council will be selling new allotment plots in an online auction.

Windsor and Maidenhead will sell 14 plots with a £150 or £300 reserve in a bid to cut its waiting list.

Council deputy leader Simon Dudley said: "It's one of our manifesto pledges to have more allotments and we're hoping to roll out more."

But a National Society Of Allotment & Leisure Gardeners spokesman said this scheme was unfair to people who could not meet the reserve prices.

The council is creating the allotments on a site it owns in Maidenhead to try and shorten its waiting list of about 400 people, who will be able to bid on half of the plots exclusively.

'Luxury allotments'

The rest of the plots will be offered to all borough residents in the eBay auction that is to take place at the start of next year.

There will be a £300 reserve price for the twelve 150 sq m allotments and a £150 reserve for the two 75 sq m plots.

"It's the easiest way that our residents who have been on a waiting list for an allotment can look to get one of these," said Mr Dudley.

He added the "luxury allotments" came with a shed, a green house and running water.

However, Paul Neary from the National Society of Allotment & Leisure Gardeners said: "To suddenly find yourself at the top of the waiting list and having to bid for a plot seems unreasonable to me."

He added that the £300 reserve was "very expensive" and that plots in nearby Chineham sold for less than a third of that price.

Mr Dudley said there was the potential for residents to share the cost of a plot.

"You could probably feed a number of families with what you could grow on these size allotments so people could go into a consortium to buy one between a couple of families," he said.

According to the National Trust, which is releasing land to create 1000 plots by 2012, 100,000 people are on waiting lists for allotments around the country.

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