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Allotment owners call for more support from council

Worcester Editorial 19th Sep, 2013 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

ALLOTMENT holders in Worcester fear more plots will become “overgrown” and “left to decay” if council bosses do not step in and take action.

Worcester City Council has come under fire from site representatives who feel they are not being provided with enough support to maintain the allotments.

Dan Robb, 64. along with other tenants, has been working tirelessly for the past six years to keep his Droitwich Road site, which is the biggest in the city, with 105 plots, up to a high standard.

But the Warndon Villages resident said he was having to spend a lot more hours at the allotment as he claimed the council were becoming increasingly less involved.

“We are having to do all the maintenance work and paperwork, but the council still own the sites,” Mr Robb said. “We used to have inspectors come around, but nobody comes around anymore.

“Some of the sites are decaying and becoming overgrown. But people don’t realise that certain people, like myself, are putting themselves out all of the time and I am getting fed up of it.”

Andy Allen, chairman of Worcester Allotment Forum, said they believed they were no longer seen as a priority despite insisting the city council had a “statutory obligation” to support the 25 sites in Worcester as they are set to receive £31,747 in fees from allotment tenancies this year.

“The council do respond to some urgent things such as clearing up after a part of a tree fell down,” Mr Allen said. “But they are not doing enough. They are doing some things, but they could and should be doing a lot more.

“The site reps are expected to do more and more of the work. But the reward that people like Dan get on the bigger sites no way near covers their costs.

“It appears that allotments don’t matter to the council anymore.”

He said he felt the council were keen for the allotments in Worcester to become self-managed, which would leave the responsibility in the hands of the individual sites.

But Mr Allen said: “You cannot force self management. Tenants have got to be willing to do it.

“We are being encouraged in that direction, but I feel the council don’t fully understand the implications.”

David Sutton, cleaner and greener service manager at Worcester City Council, confirmed discussion over proposals for all of the sites to become self managed were at an early stage.

He added: “The city council has been working productively with the Allotment Forum over a number of years to provide a service that is value for money.

“We are currently carrying out improvements to infrastructure on a number of sites, again in consultation and collaboration with the site reps who play a valuable role in this service.”

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