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Plot thickens for Cumbrian allotment holders fighting eviction

Seaton allotment holders face an almost immediate eviction notice after a “misunderstanding” by the parish council.

The move has angered plot holders, who feel let down by the council.

Tenants faced an uncertain future when the allotment site, off Lowca Lane, was sold at auction to Ken Walker and DW Hall in December.

The parish council, which leased the site from the previous owner, said at the time that it would fight for them to stay.

It said that if the new owners did plan evictions then notice could not be served until October at the earliest. With a 12-month notice period, that would have given them until October 2013 to quit.

The council has now agreed, however, to serve notice almost immediately after it received a letter from the new owners’ solicitors.

Trevor Fee, council chairman, apologised for the misunderstanding over the timing of the notice.

He said: “My understanding as chairman was that the council couldn’t legally serve notice until October 2012.

“I am very supportive of the allotment holders. I can understand that they feel that the council let them down.

“The council has to go with the advice it has been given. It is something we didn’t want to do.”

Coun Fee said that Milburns Solicitors, which represented the owners, had written to the council’s solicitor asking the council to give 12 months notice to plot holders with immediate effect.

The letter said that the owners wanted to improve the site and develop a more regular arrangement of allotments there.

Following legal advice, councillors agreed to look to serve notice and were this week looking into the steps they need to take.

Peter Vaughan, secretary of the village allotments society, said: “We feel absolutely disgusted by the council. They have let us down.

“They told us they were going to fight it and they have pulled out.”

Mr Vaughan said that an immediate eviction would mean that allotment holders would miss out on a whole growing season.

He said they wanted to know more details about future plans including timescales for improvement work, the number of allotments to be provided, their size and rental cost.

But he said that if the planned changes go ahead, gardeners would have to give up their plots, some losing thousands of pounds worth of sheds, greenhouses and other equipment that they could not store elsewhere. It would mean starting from scratch even if they were allocated new plots.

He said: “They have lost their hobby, they have lost everything. Their community involvement is gone.”

Coun Fee said the council would meanwhile look for alternative land to use for allotments.

The council and the allotment holders said they were keen to speak to the new owners about their plans.

Have your say

No news appears forthcoming on this topic, can anyone enlighten me ?

Posted by Ian on 4 May 2012 at 10:32

The holders are rightly 'hassling' the Parish Council over the mis-information they have allegedly been fed. They want answers to questions about their time limit before eviction.

They have a grievance to consider and do not deserve the daft comments being thrown at them.

When answers are forthcoming and put into the public domain we will then know where everyone stands.

As for 'pick up your shovels and move on ' I would do nothing of the kind until this situation is resolved.

Posted by Ian on 2 May 2012 at 07:34

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