AN allotment holder has won his legal battle to reverse "unfair" council rent increases for plots.

Alex Mullins, chairman of Eastleigh and District Allotments Association, mounted the challenge after seeing payments soar from £25 to £40 a year.

But now the 64-year-old is in line for a partial refund after a county court judge ruled that he should not have had to face the 60 per cent price hike introduced by Eastleigh Borough Council.

During the case in Southampton, Mr Mullins' legal team pointed to a previous case as evidence that the rate of increase from £5 to £8 for a unit of allotment was too much.

The judge said that instead he should only be subject to a nine per cent increase - in line with the fee increases introduced for the council's swimming facilities over the same period of time.

Mr Mullins says the ruling raises the prospect that civic chiefs will have to refund all of the 700 members of the Association.

The council has always maintained that the charge is good value and that the service is heavily subsidised.