DEVASTED plot holders at an allotment designed to boost mental health have warned they’ll have to give up their space as prices are set to skyrocket by almost 500%.

Drumchapel’s innovative Growchapel scheme is the brainchild of local police officers and councillors who developed the initiative in a bid to combat the crippling mental health issues of residents in the area.

However, plot holders have now warned they face losing the lifeline resource as prices are set to shoot up from an annual fee of £34.50 to an “eyewatering” £170 in 2024/25.

Helen Thompson, who has a plot on the site, said it would drive people away.

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She told our sister title the Glasgow Times: “We’re extremely unhappy about the price increase.

“We feel we’ve been preparing the ground, getting everything ready and then all the prices have been put up beyond our reach.

“I don’t understand why no one can do anything about it. It’s just ridiculous, it shouldn’t be happening.”

Plots are held by a mix of individuals and organisations, such as the charity Drumhub which uses the site to grow vegetables for the homemade soup it serves out to those struggling to feed their families during the cost of living crisis.

While others rely on the service to keep their own food bills down or manage their mental health.

A starter plot will increase from £8.65 to £51.50, while a half plot will rise from £17.25 to £85.

For those receiving a concession rate, charges will shift from £12.50 for a half plot and £25 for a full plot, to £68 and £114 respectively.

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Michael Mullen, who is a plot holder at the Halgreen Avenue site, said: “It’s like a community garden that provides food.

“There are people with a dependency on it.”

Councillors Patricia Ferguson and Paul Carey, who helped set up the site four years ago, have urged Glasgow City Council to reconsider the charges.

Cllr Ferguson said: “Growchapel has only been in existence for a relatively short time but it has already developed into a green oasis in the heart of Drumchapel … I am concerned that the fee increase might price local people out and deprive them of the opportunity to grow their own fruit and vegetables.”

The new charges, which will be rolled out at allotments across the city, will bring Glasgow City Council in line with other local authorities.

It’s understood the council is working to offer an instalment option to allow plot holders to pay up the costs, with more information on the five-year “phase in” of the price increase due to be released in the coming weeks.

Councillor Ruairi Kelly, convener for neighbourhood services, said: “It recognises there has been no increase in fees for 14 years and the scale of the increase will make the service financially sustainable in the years ahead.

“A series of mitigations are in place for those who face socio-economic or financial difficulties.

“The concessionary rates remain in place for people on benefits, full-time students and people over 60 years old and the increase will be graded over a five-year period.

“We are also looking at having the rental fee spread across the course of the year rather than paid all at once.”