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Standpipes to go at Stamford allotments to cut water use

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Standpipes at Stamford Town Council allotments are to be removed to help cut water use.

The move comes as some allotment-holders complain of water charges increasing ten-fold as the town council tries to clawback the charges imposed on it by Anglian Water.

Earlier this year, the council faced a cumulative bill for £3,493.71 for the Uffington Road new site alone.

Catherine Smith has seven butts at her Uffington Road Allotment (19966557)
Catherine Smith has seven butts at her Uffington Road Allotment (19966557)

Catherine Smith, of Stamford, says her own bill has increased from just £4 to £42.

Catherine believes that a new council system basing bills on allotment-size is unfair, as she argues having a larger plot does not always mean you use more water.

She says she has seven water butts to collect rainwater and only uses council-supplied water once these have run out, adding she only uses a watering can - never a sprinkler or hosepipe.

Catherine says she is happy to pay for the water she uses at Uffington Road and calls it “unfair” if she has to pay for other people to waste water.

She agrees that standpipes should be removed, or be locked with a key for users who would pay for the use, or for meters to be installed at each plot.

“I think it is a disgrace for the council to behave in this way, they are not supposed to make a profit out of the allotments but I am confident they will be if they are charging such extortionate fees for water.”

Stamford Town Clerk Patricia Stuart-Mogg told the Mercury that it is exactly due to complaints such as these that the town council has reviewed its water charging policy.

Water charges for town council allotments are charged in arrears, to reflect the amount used. Each allotment has a site meter and the water charge, applied by Anglian Water, is equally spread across that site.

A statement by the town council added: “Some tenants are abusing the system by having sprinklers or irrigation systems on overnight. As a result some sites’ water bills run into the dizzying heights of thousands of pounds!”

Mrs Stuart-Mogg said the town council does not make a profit on water and neither could it allow town residents to subsidise allotment water users through the precept.

Therefore, the town council has reviewed its charging policy to make it ‘fairer’ and help stop such abuse.

Standpipes will be removed and communal water troughs are currently being installed.

She continued: “Amenities (committee) are trying to get this done this financial year.”

Gardeners should use mains water as sparingly as they can, which is why the council has a special award for best Eco Allotment user.

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