Allotment holders march and protest

Upset former allotment owners were threatened with removal from a Test Valley Borough Council planning meeting after their protests and sign-waving interrupted proceedings. The protesters were making a stand against the council's actions in persuading them to give up their plots near King George Road claiming they were given no choice in the matter. Councillors at the meeting approved the decision to build 14 houses on the site which was described as no longer suitable to provide allotment plots' in a report, a claim which was strongly denied by former allotment owners. Marie Dyke, speaking before the meeting, said that she and her husband Brian were ‘gobsmacked' at the council's actions towards them and other plot owners. She said: "It's absolute rubbish that the ground's not good enough. We were told by the local authority that we had to move, there was no choice. The only choice we were given was that we could move last year and get £500 compensation or this year and there would be nothing."

Council leader, Cllr Ian Carr told the meeting that although there was a waiting list of 119 for allotments in Andover there were also a lot of uncultivated plots dotted around the town which the council was looking to bring back into use. It was also pointed that some of the proceeds from the King George Road site would go towards funding other allotments in the town.

Elsewhere, allotment holders who are being evicted to make way for the Olympic Park in east London have staged a final protest against the development. Gardeners from the Manor Garden allotments marched from Hackney Town Hall to the Olympic Park gates after packing up their tools on Sunday. The workers said they were demonstrating their “disquiet and distrust of the promised benefits the Olympics are claimed to bring.” The plot holders are being moved to a temporary site, but have been told they can return to Hackney Wick when the Games are over.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Monday, September 24, 2007

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