Fury over allotment evictions

ALLOTMENT holders are angry that they have been served eviction notices to vacate their plots after more than 20 years, as the local authority seeks to build homes on the land.

ALLOTMENT holders are angry that they have been served eviction notices to vacate their plots after more than 20 years, as the local authority seeks to build homes on the land.

Villagers at Harleston, near Stowmarket, worry that the loss of the vegetable plots will see their last public facility disappear as the land owner Mid Suffolk Council has been considering whether to build homes on the plot making the site very valuable to the authority.

Steve Mayhew, who has had an allotment on the site for about 14 years, said gardeners have received a registered letter from Suffolk County Council giving an eviction notice to vacate the land by September 26 this year.

He said: “This seems to me to be heavy handed and pointless. The land has not been sold yet, so why the rush?

“Every allotment holder in Harleston has produce in the ground which will not be ready to harvest until winter, digging them up before will just mean they have to be thrown away, which is despicable in this current climate.

“We all know the land is owned by the council, it always has been, but an agreement exists between Harleston Parish Council and Mid Suffolk which allows the land to be used by residents for allotments.

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“It will be better to keep the land in use and maintained rather than fall in to an unsightly piece of wasteland pending development, becoming an eyesore in our beautiful village.”

Mid Suffolk District Council have never charged rent or formalised the land as allotments, but the site has been in use for 20 years with seven plots there.

A spokeswoman for the authority said: “The county council have sent eviction notices out for us. We understand that residents are upset at the loss of this land for cultivation, but it was never intended that it should be used in that way.

“The land was given planning permission in the 1960s and forms part of a housing development which was never completed. This land was not left vacant for allotment use.”

A planning application will now go before councillors at a committee meeting later this month or during October, which will determine the final proposal to build homes on the site.

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