NEW charges are set to be brought in at Hyndburn’s allotments due to tenants ‘misusing water’.

Plans to introduce a new system at the allotments is under consideration after claims a flat fee for water is leaving the council out of pocket.

Hyndburn Council said a new scheme which will charge each site for the amount of water they have used in the past year, will see ‘misuse of water’ reported to the council more often.

A council report on the problem said: “The standard charge appears to have resulted in significant misuse of water. Filling ponds, leaving leaks unreported, leaving taps and hosepipes running, were common occurrences discovered.”

The report also said that allotment holders who installed rainwater systems were being unfairly penalised under the system.

The council, which is to vote on a new charging system next week, said action had been taken to resolve the problems identified and water bills were already being reduced.

The new plan under consideration would see each allotment tenant charged a proportion of the actual amount of water that is consumed per annum only for the site that they occupy.

It would mean each site is individually metered, and whilst the process of setting a charge per tenant per site is more complex, council officers said the plan was “more manageable and accountable”.

The report said: “This will be of financial benefit to tenants together with reducing environmental impacts.

“By ensuring that the price charged relates to the volume consumed by each site, this will also encourage greater tenant responsibility and misuse of mains water will be reported more quickly to the council.

The plans under review also propose changing allotment rents from a flat fee to a charge per square foot. However the report said allotment holders highest costs relate to water usage.