Plot holders vow to battle land eviction
Last updated at 12:51, Friday, 26 October 2012
Allotment holders in Seaton have vowed not to back down after being handed eviction notices.
The allotment holders received letters earlier this month from Seaton Parish Council giving them until March 1 next year to quit the land.
The council was given notice to leave from the solicitors of owners Ken Walker and DW Hall.
The allotment holders had a meeting at the Royal British Legion in Seaton last Wednesday.
They agreed to discuss in more detail the eviction notices with their solicitor and they will look to contact the National Allotment Association.
They also agreed to ask their solicitor if he can contact the solicitor of the owners.
Rob McCraken, 43, of Inner Ling Road, who is secretary of the village allotment association, said: “We are taking the fight on ourselves.
“We are going to stand our ground and we are going to fight a legal battle as if we haven’t been served our notice. We don’t think it’s legally binding.
“By our agreement, the council had to give us 12 months after they had received notice. We believe the council have let us down.”
Mr McCraken added that allotment law states that 12 months notice cannot be given between April and September 29 as that is growing season, so the holders would have needed written notice to quit in March 2012 for them to leave in March 2013, but that notice wasn’t given.
They plan to distribute leaflets around the village, hang up posters and advertise in the media.
Seaton Parish Council has looked to clarify its position on the allotments.
A spokesman said that following exchanges between the council’s solicitors and the new owners’ solicitors, the council was given 12 months to quit, with the termination coming in March 1, 2013.
The original guidance from the council’s solicitors was that September 30, 2013 was the earliest date that the council could be asked to terminate the lease.
But the solicitors advised that the notice was valid and, as it referred to the head lease, notice did not need to be given by the council to its tenants, as sub-tenancies would fall at the same time as the head lease.
The spokesman said: “The council is supportive of allotments but is not prepared to go down a potentially expensive legal route to contest the current position.”
He said the council had received a letter from the owners’ solicitors advising that they intended to redevelop the site to include allotments.
The new owners have not responded to letters from the council to discuss their proposals.
The parish council has written to Allerdale council seeking information on availability of land but has received no response. It has asked for guidance on the compulsory lease of land but Allerdale has declined to give any.
It also asked the same questions to Cumbria County Council but the parish council believes the process could be lengthy.
The council has advertised to seek the availability of land in Seaton suitable for allotments, but has received no response.
First published at 11:49, Friday, 26 October 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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