Anger at 300% water charge rise for Thanet council managed allotments

Allotment site at Nash Road

Holders of Thanet council allotment sites in Margate say they are being squeezed out of their plots due to a ‘huge’ hike in water charges.

The annual water charges will rise by 300%, from £1 per perch to £4per perch. This will be done in a phased approach with the charge for 1 Oct 2024 to 31 March 2025 at £3 and then from 1 April 2025 onwards the full £4 per perch will be charged.

A perch is 25 square metres and average plot size is 250 sq metres although these can be divided in half. This means the average rise is from £10 per year to £40 per year for water.

The cost of an allotment is £5.60 per 25 square metres and a £36 minimum charge is applied.

The charges apply for plots at Brooke Avenue Garlinge, Dane Valley, Nash Road and Tivoli Road.


One angry allotment holder, who asked not to be named, said many people are now thinking of either giving up their plots or boycotting the extra charge.

He said: “The £4 rise is per perch, a full plot is about 10 perch so it’s a hike from £10 a year to £40. Given the number of plots across Thanet that is a lot of cash that Thanet council is leaching out of allotment holders.

“Rather than being charged on usage per site, the council will instead take all readings across every (TDC) site in Thanet as a whole then charge each plot. No matter what water we use everyone gets charged the same. This is wrong because as example Garlinge allotments are a lot smaller than Dane Valley allotments so Garlinge will have to pay same per plot as Dane valley even though Garlinge would be using less water as a site.

“Every allotment site in Thanet has a water meter and every year for years it’s always been done as you would in your own home, a meter reading would be taken for a site and that site then divided up the bill per plot. It’s unfair to charge those that are environmentally cautious with their water usage the same as someone who over uses water.

“There’s no reason for such a huge jump in price as the council is only allowed to charge what it pays for the water direct so no profit can be made on it.

“The environmental impact will be detrimental as there is now no onus on saving water.

“The financial shock of this hike means the water rates are now going to be almost as much as the rent for a plot.

“And there is the distress this is causing. People who rely on their allotments for mental health and physical health are now looking to give up as the cost is too much.

“The price per unit rate (for water) has not gone up 300% (for TDC) yet they are trying to charge that. It’s scandalous, councils are not allowed to charge more per unit to allotments than it costs them to buy it.”

Plots and water prices

According to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by one resident the unit price for water was at £1.545 in 2022/23 and stood at £1.61 to £1.72 for 2023/24 for Brooke Avenue, Nash Road and Tivoli while for Dane Valley the 2023/24 rate was slightly higher at  £1.82.

Brooke Avenue has around 52 plots, Dane Valley 169, Nash Road 62 and Tivoli Road 15.

Other allotment sites across Thanet are managed by town and parish councils.

‘To cover costs’

A Thanet council spokesperson said: “The decision to increase water charges on allotments managed by Thanet District Council was considered by the Fees and Charges Cabinet Advisory Group in November 2022. The final recommendations were approved by Cabinet on Thursday 12 January 2023.

Cabinet agreed to increase water charges for allotments managed by Thanet District Council from £1 to £4 per perch (25 square metres), on a phased basis. The charge for the six months from 1 Oct 2024 to 31 March 2025 is £3. From 1 April 2025 onwards the annual charge will be £4.

“Water charges are increasing solely to cover the costs incurred by the council. Land and water charges have always been calculated per perch on allotments managed by Thanet District Council.”