ANDOVER town council will no longer be offering a discounted rate for pensioners after “honouring” the arrangement put in palace by the borough council for more than a decade.

At a meeting of the allotments committee earlier this month, members decided to put an end to the 50 per cent discount currently enjoyed by allotment holders over 65, who previously had a plot under the management of Test Valley Borough Council.

When Andover Town Council took over management of the sites in question in 2010, the discount arrangement remained in place, and is thought to have accounted for approximately £18,000 in lost income over the past 11 years.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Barbara Long said: “I think we honoured our commitment when we took it over from Test Valley in 2010, and those existing plot holders carried on with the legacy of, if you were over retirement age, you got a 50 per cent reduction.

“I think we should give notice that we are not going to honour the reduction. We have lost something like £18,000 over those 10 years.”

Luigi Gregori added that the current procedure is “inequitable” and supported calls to get rid of it.

He proposed the removal of the discount, with statutory notification given to those affected. This was seconded by Cllr Nigel Long.

Cllr David Coole then put forward an amendment for consideration, which would allow discounts at “council discretion”, adding: “We need to remember there are people who struggle financially and particularly at the moment we need to take this into account.”

However, the amendment got no seconder, with Cllr Nigel Long saying: “I think they are getting it very cheap.”

The original proposal passed, with five votes for and only Cllr Coole voting against.

Andover Town Council owns and manages 500 allotment plots on seven sites.

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