ALLOTMENT holders in Exeter are being invited to suggest ways in which the City Council can secure the long-term future of allotments in the city in the face of continuing government cuts.

Letters have already been sent to allotment associations in the city asking for people's views on a number of cost-saving options.

Cllr Keith Owen, Lead Councillor for Environment, Health and Wellbeing, said: "We appreciate the importance of allotments, especially in cities, and the benefits that they bring, but we are facing difficult financial times with year-on-year cuts in central government funding."

“By listening to what people are saying, we are offering allotment holders a real opportunity to share their ideas and help shape the future of this service.

"In response to requests, we have extended the date of this consultation until 4th August to enable as many allotment holders as possible to put forward their ideas.

"We appreciate that there are difficult decisions to be made but many good ideas are already being put forward to us by allotment holders.

"By 2017 the government will give us less than half the grant that they gave us in 2010 to provide local services. We can't just stand still and do nothing,” said Cllr Owen.

“We have offered some options for discussion including the reduction of maintenance costs and have widened the debate over the current level of subsidies.

"At the moment more than half the costs of the allotments service, which is used by just 1,200 people, is subsidised by the 53,500 council tax payers in Exeter.

"Whilst it is important that we maintain such a valuable service, we must make changes to the way we provide it to ensure that it is sustainable over the long term."

People have until August 4 to feed back their comments ( on the options before any decisions are made.