Devastated gardeners who have been told they must quit their beloved allotments so they can be bulldozed to make way for new homes are preparing to go into battle to save their patch of green land.
Members of the Barrow Allotment Holders Association met this week to discuss a plan of action after they were served with termination letters by Barrow Lands Company Ltd which has received planning permission to build 500 homes on the site.
The allotment holders claim the company is going back on its original promise made in 2012 to retain the allotments.
Allotment holder Carole Taylor said: “In the original planning application made in 2012 it is mentioned at least 20 times that the allotments will be retained so to say we are upset is an understatement.”
In support of its planning application Barrow Lands submitted a 66-page document which included maps and photographs featuring the allotments that it claimed would be kept as a “vital part of village life”.
Carole added: “We are saddened and very unhappy that this is happening. Like myself, holders have spent a lot of time and money on taking pride in their little bit of the countryside, planting fruit and vegetables for themselves, family and friends.
“There are a couple of ponds with frogs spawning, a variety of birds, trees and grassland surrounding the allotments. We intend to put up a fight to keep this way of life.”
In the termination letters allotment holders were told it may be necessary to run sewer and other services across the site and the tenants need to move off the site as it would dangerous to allow them access during construction.
Established at least 75 years ago there are now 67 allotments on the site situated behind Catlow Terrace. The association has 35 members and the eldest holder is 91.
Carole, a retired nurse who took up her plot in June, said: “We have created a lovely little community which promotes healthy living and people helping each other. There are families here, young couples and senior citizens.
“Big business thinks it is entitled to roll over everybody, and everything, which stands in its way, who care little about the people or the environment, whose only concern is to line their own pockets.
“We intend to let them know they do not have their own way handed to them on a plate because of the backing of their big money friends.”
The company has said it may consider helping the allotment holders to find alternative plots but Carole said she has investigated this idea and there is no land available.
She added: “This is not even an option at the moment and I have looked into acquiring a plot elsewhere but you have to live in the place where it is or there is a seven year waiting list.”