THERE is a wonderful tradition of allotment-holding in this country.

Allotments provide much-needed green spaces in our cities, as well as allowing city-dwellers to keep in touch with the land and grow their own food - something that can be a real help when times are tight. They’re also hugely popular in York - allotments across the city are well used.

Any change to the way they are managed needs to be looked at carefully, therefore.

In principle, we see nothing wrong with the idea of the city council handing responsibility for allotments to a committee of allotment holders, which is effectively what the York Allotments Charitable Incorporated Organisation is. After all, allotment holders are the ones who know best what they need.

There is a some suspicion, however, that one reason for the council wanting to off-load management of allotments is to save money: £17,000 to be precise.

Green councillors quite rightly stress that it is vitally important that allotments remain accessible and affordable. And while £17,000 may not be a lot of money to the council, it is potentially quite a lot for the new fledgling management committee to save.

So could there be rental increases on the horizon? We don’t know.

In the circumstances, the Greens are absolutely right to call in the decision to pass over responsibility for allotment management to the committee.

It may well be that everything is as it should be. But the details of the proposal - including the new committee’s draft business plan, and details of how it proposes to organise itself - do need to be looked at carefully before a final decision is made. Which is precisely what calling the proposal in for scrutiny will achieve.