Gardeners asked their sexuality in ‘ridiculous’ council survey

Allotment holders in Leeds have been asked by council officials about their sexual orientation, in a survey branded “ridiculous” and “intrusive”.

About 4,000 questionnaires were sent to all plot-holders and those on the waiting list.

One of the sections asked people to state whether they were heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual.

Criticise

Councillor Ron Grahame has joined with allotment-holders in criticising the surveys, saying sexual orientation has nothing to do with gardening.

He said: “I am all for equality but this is just ridiculous.”

And Ian Wood, Chairman of the Leeds and District Gardeners’ Federation, said: “The consensus among our members – and we have nearly 2,500 of them – seems to be that it was a wasted opportunity.”

Intrusive

He added: “Members felt that it was at least irrelevant to ask about sexuality, and, at most, intrusive.”

A report to councillors said that the questionnaires were given out to “gain an understanding of the demographic profile of allotment users”.

The surveys were only returned by 16 percent of recipients.

Lifestyle

Last year, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles issued statutory guidance to councils saying there is no need for them to carry out “lifestyle or diversity questionnaires”.

He said people using public services should not have to answer “intrusive” equality questionnaires on subjects like sexual orientation.

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