Councillor wants to save Harrowby Road allotments from development

Harrowby Road Allotments. 619C

Harrowby Road Allotments. 619C

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A COUNCILLOR is ‘extremely unhappy’ about the letter that was sent to owners of allotments off Harrowby Road by South Kesteven District Council.

Councillor Charmaine Morgan, who lives in the area and is in the process of buying an allotment, is concerned that people believe she was involved with the creation of the letter, which threatened fines of £20,000 if the land is not cleared of overgrown plants and rubbish.

Charmaine Morgan.

Charmaine Morgan.

She said: “I’m extremely unhappy about how they’ve gone ahead with it. I’ve been working with council officials regarding issues with the allotments since February. The one thing that hasn’t been complained about is the allotments being untidy.

“In my ward I have a number of elderly residents who, having heard nothing from the council for years, then received this letter. Most people have had quite a stark reaction to it.”

Issues that were raised to her include a business operating from there, threatening behaviour, flytipping and animals on the land.

She said: “My fear is that if the allotments are not protected and the issues are not addressed we will end up with a site that is disused. I’m aware that there have been some speculative plans drawn up for this site, but I would oppose development of it.”

Rumours have circulated that Coun Morgan bought an allotment for a low rate after the council letter went out.

But she said: “I was on the site at the request of a resident. There was a man there from London who said he had been trying to sell his plot for years. I made an exclamation that I’ve been trying to buy a plot for 
years.”

Coun Morgan said the plot owner told her the land had been valued at £50. But she thought it was worth more.

She said: “There was quite some negotiation with me trying to increase the price, which is quite weird.”

Coun Morgan did some research to value the land and settled on a figure of £700 plus legal fees, and if the land is developed the profit will go to the former owner or charity.

Coun Morgan, who aims to share the use of the allotment with friends, said: “I feel very strongly; the reason I am buying the plot is to keep it as an allotment. I know a lot of people are speculatively buying plots, but I’m not. I’ve had a lot of grief from this.”