VERMIN, dust and fumes from a huge distribution hub are blighting a neighbouring allotment, claim disgruntled patch owners.

Construction started on Hermes’ ‘Colossus’ site in November after the 46-hectare site, formerly greenbelt land, was deemed suitable for development in the council’s local plan.

It’s part of the Hoyland West masterplan, one of three such plans for the town, and has faced stern crticism from environmental campaigners.

And as well as what they refer to as the ‘destruction’ of vital green space, the development is also forcing rats and other vermin into an allotment backing onto the site.

Kelly Illingsworth, 37, is in the process of clearing out her late dad’s allotment.

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She said: “It doesn’t affect people who don’t live around here but for those who are affected by it, it’s really upsetting.

“Kids won’t be able to explore and enjoy the wildlife that was once there. That’s such a shame.

“It’s set off the rats as well, I don’t think there’s ever been rats here before, but I guess it’s moved them because habitats have been destroyed.”

Allotment holder Ron Mellars, 80, has had to put new netting up to protect his plants from rabbits.

The retiree and Age UK volunteer said: “The rabbits have been a problem and it’s a shame the horses aren’t kept behind here anymore, but you just have to go with the progress.

“I’m 80, and I say it’s just progress, we have to accept it.

“People need these online deliveries and things, that isn’t going to change.”

Alan Bright is another disgruntled allotment holder whose patch has also suffered from the vermin increase - he said he is also fed up of the dust and fumes which have often coated his produce since the development began.

* The Chronicle contacted Hermes for a comment but no-one was available.