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Council to take legal action against local allotment holders

22 Feb 2024 5 minute read
Kenfig Hill Allotments. Credit: Lewis Smith LDR

Lewis Smith Local Democracy Reporter

A council has said it will take action against a group of allotmenteers who have failed to move from land earmarked for a new school development.

The council has said it will carry out legal action after users of the allotments on Pwllygath Street in Kenfig Hill did not comply with a legal notice asking them to leave the site next to Mynydd Cynffig Primary School by September 29, 2023.

The site is intended to be cleared under proposals to extend the neighbouring Mynydd Cynffig Primary School on to council-owned land, which will replace the current building with modern educational facilities for up to 420 local children, along with a 75-place nursery. It will also feature a new community allotment site featuring 26 fully equipped plots.

Deadline

The council said it had now extended the deadline for members to leave their plots until March 11, issuing what they said was a further legal notice ahead of potential court action.

However, many who use the allotments say they were unaware of the notice given by Bridgend Council, with some adding that they were unsure of how they were expected to leave or store equipment, while work to create an alternative allotment got underway.

A council spokesperson said:  “The council is carrying out the action after users of the current allotments, which are located on council-owned land behind Pwllygath Street in Kenfig Hill, did not comply with a previous legal notice asking them to vacate the site by September 29, 2023.

“As this date has now passed, the council is issuing a further legal notice ahead of potential court action informing the plot holders that the site must be vacated by March 11, 2024.

“At the same time, the council is proceeding with plans to provide the plot holders with an all-new, purpose-built allotment site packed with new facilities. Located on the opposite side of the new primary school, the new site will feature modern security fencing and enhanced access to plots.

“Each individual plot will feature high-quality soil guaranteed to meet specific standards, a hard standing space complete with a new shed, a water butt, new timber fencing, gated access and a chicken coop.”

Mynydd Cynffig Primary And Allotments. How the site could look in the coming years. Credit: Bridgend Council

Deputy leader of Bridgend Council, Jane Gebbie, added that she was disappointed that it had come to what she described as a last resort with the legal notice. She said: “This is all about providing the people of Kenfig Hill with new facilities, not taking away existing ones.

“We know that the current allotments have been in place for a long time and appreciate that the transition period will cause some unavoidable short-term inconvenience, but you only have to look at the illustration for the new allotment site to know that this is going to be a high quality, permanent
community facility which will be fully equipped to meet the plot holders’ needs.

“At the same time, moving the allotment site a relatively short distance will ensure that we can provide the community of Kenfig Hill with a fantastic modern primary school and nursery, and that local children will be able to benefit from the very best start in life that we can provide.

“We have previously asked the allotment holders to work alongside us on the delivery of these plans. Since 2021, we have held numerous meetings, have answered all questions put before us, and have discussed the proposals in close detail.

“We have demonstrated how the new allotment site will continue to be locally based, have outlined what sort of new facilities they can expect, and have shared details on the ecology and traffic reports, the time line for the required works, the site layout, the lease arrangements and much more.

“The fact that we are now having to reluctantly issue a further legal notice is hugely disappointing as such action has always been viewed as a last resort. We cannot allow these plans to be delayed any longer, not when they represent such significant benefit for the whole community.”

“Lack of communication”

Despite this, Enid Smith who is chairwoman of the allotment group, said she felt there had been a lack of communication when it came to the plans.

She said: “We haven’t been told anything about the dates they want us to leave. We were told that a new allotment site would be created for us to go on to before any of the construction of the school started, and we were shown the plans, but nothing has been done yet.

“It’s going to take them a while to build a track up to the site and then build the new allotments. A barrier has been put up at the bottom of the lane but even that has been left open so at the moment we just don’t know.”

Bryan Smith has been on the allotment for more than 20 years and added. “We’ve been here for a long time now and the allotment is a big part of our lives. As far as I was aware, we paid our bill to be here until September, so I am disappointed with the way this has been handled.”


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Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 month ago

Surely the Council should have created the new allotments first and then the users of the old site could easily move. That is so obvious that it seems almost silly to have to write it.

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