ALLOTMENT holders worry for their future having received an ‘unexpected’ eviction notice for allegedly breaching part of their council tenancy agreement.
Andrew Batty, 59, contacted the Chronicle with his concerns after Robert Moses, who he shares the allotment with, was given a notice from Barnsley Council’s allotment services department on April 27.
The allotment, on Summer Lane in Wombwell, has had a ‘huge’ impact on Andrew’s family - after relying on it for fresh fruit and vegetables for a number of years.
“Our main concern is having everything taken away from us,” he said.
“We’ve put a lot of hard work into our allotment over the years - everything is divided between us.
“From the wood we’ve collected, to our hens and their eggs.
“We’ll lose everything.
“I have a big family - there’s about 30 of us - we’ve relied on supplies from the allotment for as long as I can remember.
“Particularly during the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis when times have been harder than usual.”
Andrew explained how the notice came as a ‘sudden shock’ and said he felt it was unfair - given the number of years they’ve had the land and hadn’t experienced any issues before now.
He added: “Someone complained because part of our fencing was coming down - making it look temporarily untidy.
“But the thing is - you have to make it untidy to get it tidy again.
“We didn’t plan on leaving the fencing as it was - but someone obviously saw it and reported us to the council straight away without addressing their concerns to us beforehand.
“There has been no breach of any rules - we haven’t done anything wrong.
“We haven’t been able to speak to anyone from the department directly - the number on the letter Robert received won’t connect
“So we’ve been given this notice, completely out of the blue, and there isn’t a great deal we can do about it.”
Matt O’Neill, executive director for growth and sustainability, told the Chronicle that the council conducted a check and found issues at the site.
“We were informed of a breach of point six of our tenancy agreement, which says the allotment must be kept ‘in a good state of cultivation and fertility and in good condition’.
“We conducted an investigation which found issues of non-compliance with the agreement - the plot was not being used for the intended purposes and storage onsite had damaged the perimeter fencing, which we had to repair at a cost to the council and ultimately the taxpayer.”