Sidmouth allotment plots overrun with weeds as more gardeners join waiting list

Ruth Rose at Peaslands allotments in Sidmouth

Ruth Rose at Peaslands allotments in Sidmouth - Credit: Archant

Poor management has made already long waiting times for allotments in the town even worse, it’s claimed.

Allotment holder Ruth Rose in front of her old plot now untended

Allotment holder Ruth Rose in front of her old plot now untended - Credit: Archant

There’s currently a wait of up to five years for a plot at East Devon District Council (EDDC) sites.

But at Peaslands, in Sidmouth, which has a waiting list of 75 people, there are currently four plots that are growing wild and untended.

Ruth Rose, who has had an allotment there for 20 years, said: “It’s depressing and particularly thinking about people who are waiting. It’s not fair.”

Like other allotment holders, she would prefer plots that were kept tidily to lower the risk of weeds spreading.

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Ruth pays £80-a-year for a two-thirds plot and grows a mixture of fruit and vegetables.

She said the council should assign neglected plots to those on the waiting list.

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“They don’t manage it properly. There are times when somebody is ill which you accept but some have been untended for a long time.

“I think a lot of people don’t realise quite what a lot of work it is.”

EDDC manages three allotment sites in Sidmouth – Lawn Vista and Lymebourne, leased from the National Trust, and Peaslands.

That gives a total of 89 allotment plots.

There are currently 92 people waiting for allotments at Lawn Vista, 91 for Lymebourne and 75 for Peaslands.

According to the council, most people who want an allotment on these sites, usually sign up to all three lists.

There are other allotment sites in East Devon and these are managed by allotment associations or town councils.

The allotments at Peaslands have no formal management committee.

A spokesperson for EDDC said: “Unfortunately, due to staff shortages, we have been unable to visit the allotments to inspect them as frequently as we would wish.

“However, we are aware of the unsatisfactory condition of four of the plots and we have written to the plot holders to ask them to tend to their plots immediately.

“If we don’t hear from them, they will be given notice to quit in order that people on the waiting list can have the opportunity to take them over.”

The council said that in addition, it currently had two vacant plots that are in the process of being re-let.

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