Allotment holder who took time off told he’s lost the plot

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An allotment holder who tends to his plot all year round has been slapped with an eviction order – because he took a fortnight off.

Robert Stone, who has tended to the plot for the past eight years, received a letter from the council giving him a month’s notice to quit the tenancy after claiming he was not cultivating the plot to the required standards.

He said: “For about two weeks we couldn’t get on to the ground at all. There had been a lot of wet and stormy weather and it would have done more harm than good.

“After I received the notice I worked the land for two days and dug up some plants to give them away. The land was 80 per cent cultivated anyway because we grow a lot of fruit and flowers for the house.”

Despite his protestations and request for a meeting to discuss the issue, he said his pleas have been ignored.

He said: “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. At the moment I am digging my heels in until someone informs me what’s happening.”

The council has said it has revamped its allotment services to reduce waiting lists. Belinda Gaynor, its operational estate manager, said: “The termination of Mr Stone’s tenancy will be put on hold to allow time for his appeal to be determined.”