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New brooms sweep clean – allegedly

June 6, 2012 Gotalottie 4 Comments
zetland-conifers

I’d sent a letter to the council on 10th May - to the new ‘broom’ – the Neighbourhood officer now detailed with getting the allotments back up to scratch. I described what might be some possibilities or opportunities for us to take an allotment and I attached some photographs of the site in general. I asked him if he would meet me on the site. I did receive a reply, quite encouraging really but he didnt agree to meeting me on site.

The bottom line is that the administration and upkeep of the allotments was in such an unholy mess and the new guy was clearly going to need some time to catch up!

Non-Cultivation orders

I have recently inspected the entire site and have issued “Non-Cultivation Orders” on those tenants who are clearly not carrying out maintenance of their allotment under the terms and conditions of the agreement.

Well that sounds like more than just rhetoric.

Looking at the site is quite a shock, especially as it lines both sides of a public park…

3 years of rotting plastic

3 years of rotting plastic

 
 
This is a view across 3 plots – heavily infested with Horsetail, strewn with black plastic, old baths.
The furthest plot is Number 36 which hasnt been cultivated for more than 3 years and was last tended by a couple who havent lived in the town since 2004!
The plot where I am stood hasnt been tended for 2 years and the one nearest the camera – one year!
 
broken bench

broken bench

 
 
Thats a garden bench – left by the previous tenants 2 years ago.
 
27th May – time for an update from the council I think..

I wrote again and after a few days received a quite courteous reply. It now seems that 8 non-cultivation orders were sent out. Also they have received 2 notices to quit from tenants.

Despite it being full of Horsetail and untended for 3 years, we have asked to be considered for number 36 because it is plot with a very sunny position, sheltered and has great promise!. We suggested to the council that nobody wants this plot, that we were being advised to ‘stay clear of it’ and that we had sufficient experience (and commitment) to make this plot good again.

How difficult is it?

Surely they have a record of no rent being paid on this plot and the one next to it (35). Plot 34 was vacated by its previous owner when the council agreed to resite this person to another plot!! We even attempted to find the last tenants of 36, we got their names and visited their house.. they’d moved years ago! so we did an electoral roll search.. They havent lived in the town since 2004, so their post (the non-cultivation order) isnt going to be read – is it!

6th June (today)

Well we walked around the plots again this weekend.

The weed growth has been shocking. The weeds on 36 are twice as tall in just 2 weeks.
I think that it’s a foregone conclusion that nothing can be done with these plots now this year…

plot 35

plot 35

swathes of poppies

 
 

Quite depressing to be honest and another year missed.

Thats the reason for this blog at the moment – to shame the Council into action.
It would be great to be posting some photos of our proud efforts but that isnt possible.

Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. Stevens says:

    you need to kick up a fuss i was on a waiting list of 150 odd people for a year with no prospects of getting a plot. then the local paper ran a story about the council having 200 vacant plots but still having a waiting list. i was offered one a week after.

  2. Mrs Ball says:

    I am beginning to think that some councils employ people to deal with all matters allotment who have no idea about how to do the job.

    All this rings such bells with me, although my persistence was rewarded. I phoned and sent an email every day until we got one although it was a jungle.

    May I suggest that you go for the Pees.

    Press and Parliament; Mp and your ward councillors. Try speaking to your local MP and tell him/her that you are going to go to the local press too. That may speed things up. I have found this strategie to have been of use to me in the past.

    Don’t give up.

  3. angelavdavis says:

    I raised the profile of a local statutory site that the council had closed and left derelict during times when allotments went out of favour, only to continue ignoring this site when their list grew to over 200 long.

    I contacted the local NSALG representative who offered us legal assistance to fight the issue if we got the local allotment association involved. As it happened, the LA pulled their finger out eventually, but it took quite a lot of time to create a level of fuss to get something done.

    I would speak with the NSALG and see what they recommend. I would also contact your MP, although they very often send you a blanket reply that they don’t get involved in Council statutory decision-making which is what happened to me.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Guerilla Allotmenteer. Possession is, after all, nine tents of the law!!!

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