Allotment holders ask to meet council to discuss eviction
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Allotment holders are appealing for a meeting with councillors to discuss the distribution of eviction notices after they were told they have to leave their plots.
The tenants at Kingston Fields in Woodbridge are calling for an extraordinary council meeting and have written to town councillors asking for their support after receiving notices to leave their plots when their tenancy ends on March 31, 2023.
Earlier this week, the EADT reported the allotment holders’ concerns the council had not put enough effort into securing new allotment sites and that they were being evicted to make way for people on the council’s waiting list.
Plans to offer a five-year tenancy were also slammed on the basis that tenants needed more time to make their land productive.
On Tuesday, plot holder Roger Bridgeman addressed the council about the situation, with many tenants angry that they were being evicted after spending many years cultivating the land.
Legal action is now being considered and the tenants have been in contact with the National Allotment Society, which represents allotment holders’ interests, with a view to setting up an allotments association of their own.
In response to the tenants’ concerns, Woodbridge Mayor Sue Bale said the town only had 18 allotments- fewer than other towns.
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She said the council had been looking for other land without success and was considering other options, including the creation of a Community Garden in Kingston Fields.
Yesterday, county councillor Caroline Page, who represents Woodbridge, said development space was limited because Woodbridge was surrounded by rivers, the A12 and the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
She said that with 18 allotments currently serving approximately 9,000 households, limitations had to be placed on the duration of tenancies, adding that the town council had only recently been handed the responsibility for allotments, which used to be within the district council’s remit.
She added: “The council has looked at the allotments and asked whether people can be justified in having large chunks of land when there are so many who don’t. The problem is there are people who may never get access.”
Any new site would need to have toilets and access to running water, she said.
The town council has also launched an online survey to gauge residents' views on what should be done, which can be accessed here https://forms.office.com/r/xU3zCfVnc8