Threat to my allotment has broken my spirit, says Bradford man

Speeton Avenue allotment holder Robert Stone says he may be evicted from it by Bradford Council

Speeton Avenue allotment holder Robert Stone says he may be evicted from it by Bradford Council

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

An allotment holder says an eviction notice he has received from Bradford Council accusing him of failing to look after his plot has “broken his spirit.”

Robert Stone, who has tended the plot at the Speeton Avenue allotments in Wibsey for the last eight years, received a letter from Bradford Council last month giving him a month’s notice to quit the tenancy.

The letter stated that Mr Stone, 64, was not cultivating the plot to the required standards, but despite his protestations and request for a meeting to discuss the issue, he said his pleas have been ignored.

He said: “A lot of plot-holders have had letters by mistake in the past, but when you query them, there’s no-one to deal with it.

“I assumed initially that they’d just got the plots mixed up, but when it said I had to get off, it became serious.

“The letter broke my spirit, if I’m honest. I’ve had no response from the Council, and the thought of having to leave is absolutely devastating.

“I plan to fight my cause, but I hope common sense will prevail. I feel helpless. I’m just an ordinary man who enjoys growing and planting things, but I’m here every week, and my allotment is a huge part of my life.”

Mr Stone, an aerial and satellite rigger, who grows a vast array of herbs, fruits and vegetables on the plot, said pictures taken to support the eviction notice had been taken during the winter when the allotment was dormant, with some photos actually showing an overgrown tree outside the boundaries of his plot.

“The pictures they took were just dried plants, which you can’t do anything about in the winter. I brought the whole plot back round to its current conditions in two days, which you just can’t do unless it’s already cultivated – it’s impossible.”

The Council has said it has revamped its allotment services, speeding up the process of transforming derelict or vacant sites to reduce waiting lists.

But Jane Robinson, of the Bradford Community Environment Project, which allocates temporary starter plots at the Scotchman Road allotments in Manningham, said that while recent improvements in certain council services had been welcomed, communication problems still existed.

“We all want uncultivated plots to be moved on swiftly, but the process has to be effective,” she said.

“This case emphasises how important it is to be careful and get things right.

“Some long-standing plot holders who have received warnings about their level of cultivation felt the letters were both unprecedented and heavy-handed.”

Belinda Gaynor, Bradford Council’s operational estate manager, said 32 tenancies had been terminated so far during 2013/14, with approximately ten of those evictions leading to appeals.

“There are waiting lists for council allotments and we have a duty to make sure that those who have plots are actually working them,” she said.

“Prior to any termination notice being issued plot holders are given a written warning and advised that improvement is required.

“The termination of Mr Stone’s tenancy will be put on hold to allow time for his appeal to be determined.”

Comments (10)

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9:23am Mon 7 Apr 14

Cooperlane2 says...

We're on the waiting list for that allotment area...last time we looked several years ago there were about 25 in the queue ahead of us.
I believe you now have to reapply to the waiting list every year.

It is known that some people move away and come back once a year to tend the bare minimum to keep the plot - so in ten/twenty years time they still have an allotmnet when they retire back here. These are the ones the council is targetting.

If Mr Stone tends his plot properly as he says, then I hope he wins his appeal.
We're on the waiting list for that allotment area...last time we looked several years ago there were about 25 in the queue ahead of us. I believe you now have to reapply to the waiting list every year. It is known that some people move away and come back once a year to tend the bare minimum to keep the plot - so in ten/twenty years time they still have an allotmnet when they retire back here. These are the ones the council is targetting. If Mr Stone tends his plot properly as he says, then I hope he wins his appeal. Cooperlane2
  • Score: 16

9:28am Mon 7 Apr 14

Old Dave says...

We read most days in the T&A that as a local authority Bradford council is shedding vital jobs and losing youth workers and other important council services, yet we still employ council staff to allocate then police allotments. Utter madness.
Each allotment should have its own voluntary committee that runs it and then they are self policing and the tax payers don't have to fund jobsworths.
We read most days in the T&A that as a local authority Bradford council is shedding vital jobs and losing youth workers and other important council services, yet we still employ council staff to allocate then police allotments. Utter madness. Each allotment should have its own voluntary committee that runs it and then they are self policing and the tax payers don't have to fund jobsworths. Old Dave
  • Score: 22

11:08am Mon 7 Apr 14

Matrix Guy says...

They want to check the ones up at Northcliffe, 2 of them are in a right state.
They want to check the ones up at Northcliffe, 2 of them are in a right state. Matrix Guy
  • Score: 9

11:24am Mon 7 Apr 14

Albion. says...

Old Dave wrote:
We read most days in the T&A that as a local authority Bradford council is shedding vital jobs and losing youth workers and other important council services, yet we still employ council staff to allocate then police allotments. Utter madness.
Each allotment should have its own voluntary committee that runs it and then they are self policing and the tax payers don't have to fund jobsworths.
They'd still need to go through official channels to get an eviction.
[quote][p][bold]Old Dave[/bold] wrote: We read most days in the T&A that as a local authority Bradford council is shedding vital jobs and losing youth workers and other important council services, yet we still employ council staff to allocate then police allotments. Utter madness. Each allotment should have its own voluntary committee that runs it and then they are self policing and the tax payers don't have to fund jobsworths.[/p][/quote]They'd still need to go through official channels to get an eviction. Albion.
  • Score: 3

12:41pm Mon 7 Apr 14

canbus says...

You would think the allotments office would apply common sense to the situation especially as we have had one of the wettest winters on record but alas common sense can be in short supply at bradford council , it can quite clearly be seen that your allotment is to a more than acceptable standard there are many plots on our site that are an absolute disgrace one tenant who has recently left his plot has left nearly a skip full of rubbish on it but no doubt the council will not tell him to shift it and if he does not bill him to have it removed as this is in the tenancy agreement to remove all rubbish at the end of the tenancy dont let the break your spirit they tried to do the same to me but in the end after all the lies from the ex committee and the councilhttp://www.th
etelegraphandargus.c
o.uk/news/8991085.Ga
rdener_banned_from_e
very_Council_allotme
nt/ just ignoring me i went to court and got my allotment back as i had done nothing wrong in the first place
You would think the allotments office would apply common sense to the situation especially as we have had one of the wettest winters on record but alas common sense can be in short supply at bradford council , it can quite clearly be seen that your allotment is to a more than acceptable standard there are many plots on our site that are an absolute disgrace one tenant who has recently left his plot has left nearly a skip full of rubbish on it but no doubt the council will not tell him to shift it and if he does not bill him to have it removed as this is in the tenancy agreement to remove all rubbish at the end of the tenancy dont let the break your spirit they tried to do the same to me but in the end after all the lies from the ex committee and the councilhttp://www.th etelegraphandargus.c o.uk/news/8991085.Ga rdener_banned_from_e very_Council_allotme nt/ just ignoring me i went to court and got my allotment back as i had done nothing wrong in the first place canbus
  • Score: 6

12:42pm Mon 7 Apr 14

canbus says...

http://www.thetelegr
aphandargus.co.uk/ne
ws/8991085.Gardener_
banned_from_every_Co
uncil_allotment/
http://www.thetelegr aphandargus.co.uk/ne ws/8991085.Gardener_ banned_from_every_Co uncil_allotment/ canbus
  • Score: 0

12:44pm Mon 7 Apr 14

canbus says...

link wont work but if you type in gardener banned in search box thats what they tried to do to me
link wont work but if you type in gardener banned in search box thats what they tried to do to me canbus
  • Score: 1

7:14pm Mon 7 Apr 14

amanda1666 says...

I hope he wins his case. it has a lot to do with politics. Perhaps the people who run the allotments do not like him. Good for you for standing up for yourself, I hope it prevails.
I hope he wins his case. it has a lot to do with politics. Perhaps the people who run the allotments do not like him. Good for you for standing up for yourself, I hope it prevails. amanda1666
  • Score: 1

8:47pm Mon 7 Apr 14

alive and awake says...

I think this man is being victimised, and bullied, I hope he wins his case then sues them for stress. Bradford Council are nothing but bullies.
Anyone seen the Rev Flowers?
I think this man is being victimised, and bullied, I hope he wins his case then sues them for stress. Bradford Council are nothing but bullies. Anyone seen the Rev Flowers? alive and awake
  • Score: 2

4:51pm Tue 8 Apr 14

mad matt says...

The allotments office at Bradford council is not fit for purpose - simple as that.
The office is run by a well documented bully anyway. If you do try to argue with the office, you usually find that the person who sent out the letter is "off sick" or "on annual leave" anything to avoid having to accept that they have made yet another mistake.
I hope the guy does get his allotment back because his plot was examined in February, during one of the wettest winters on record. How the heck could he have done any work there at all.
As soon as the weather cleared he's got it all in order THEN he gets his eviction notice!
The allotments office at Bradford council is not fit for purpose - simple as that. The office is run by a well documented bully anyway. If you do try to argue with the office, you usually find that the person who sent out the letter is "off sick" or "on annual leave" anything to avoid having to accept that they have made yet another mistake. I hope the guy does get his allotment back because his plot was examined in February, during one of the wettest winters on record. How the heck could he have done any work there at all. As soon as the weather cleared he's got it all in order THEN he gets his eviction notice! mad matt
  • Score: 1

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