Leeds gardeners ‘under threat’

If Leeds City Council does not buy an allotment site, over 100 years of gardening history could be lost, local newspaper the Yorkshire Evening Post reports.

Plots in the market town of Rothwell have been leased from a private land owner by the council since 1908, but signs that indicate the location is for sale were put up without warning two weeks ago.

The 3.7 acre site is said to be on sale for somewhere in the region of between £30,000 and £40,000 and the council only has until today (October 28th) to express its interest.

Despite this, the Asset Management Board is to debate the matter on November 2nd, which many locals fear will be too late.

Norman Dobson, a local resident who has been renting his patch for 42 years, said he was worried he would lose a significant part of his life if he was no longer allowed to volunteer on the site.

"Since I retired it's found me something to do, instead I'd just be stuck at home. If I didn't have it, it would do me in," he told the newspaper.

Another plot holder – 73-year-old Kingsley Mason – expressed doubt it would be possible for him to acquire a new patch on another site.

He attributed this to lengthy waiting lists and the inaccessibility of rural areas further from home.

A spokeswoman for the council was confident such individuals may not face this kind of problem, as land agents confirmed the owner has not given notice to terminate the existing tenancy arrangements.

Liberal Democrat councillor for the town Stewart Golton suggested official action would be taken.

"As volunteers they do work for free for the council to maintain their plots. They deserve more back when they are vulnerable and that means buying the site," he remarked.

This would be a more positive development than the official position trainee teacher Ben Carcamo was recently subject to, as he was threatened with eviction from his allotment, which he argued was motivated by jealousy over the fertility of his land. 

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