September 28th, 2016

Furious Abbey Gardens allotment holders vow to fight eviction

Furious Abbey Gardens allotment holders vow to fight eviction Furious Abbey Gardens allotment holders vow to fight eviction
Tenants have been given 12 months to leave the allotment site in Abbey Gardens. Picture by Marcus Mingins.
Updated: 11:03 am, Mar 25, 2016

ANGRY allotment holders have vowed to fight eviction from Abbey Gardens after it was revealed they would be turfed out to make way for public gardens to recreate Evesham’s Abbey.

Allotment holders received their eviction notices in the post last week from the Rudge Estate who own the land meaning more than 120 years of fruit and vegetables being grown within the historic surroundings of Abbot Chryton’s Wall will come to an end.

The plot holders are being evicted in order for the two acres of land to be gifted to the Abbey Gardens Trust.

The Observer revealed last week the group are planning to create a major tourist attraction by creating public gardens to recreate the footprint of the town’s Abbey where it once stood.

But their plans mean allotment holders now have until March of next year to pack up and leave the site.

Negotiations over an alternative site for the allotments appear to have broken down leaving many allotment holders in the dark about whether or not there will be land for them to move to.

Alan Eames, who has had a plot on the site for eight years, told the Observer: “Initially we were told they would find us somewhere else to go, but at the moment that seems to be in abeyance.

“We’re not quite sure what’s happening, if anything is happening at all, possibly nothing is happening.

“The proposed place we were being sent to, we’ve heard nothing more about it.

Mr Eames also made a passionate plea to project chiefs by calling on them to include the allotments in their plans.

“We are unhappy that there isn’t a place for us in the proposal. The area will just become a garden with no horticulture or any remembrance of Evesham’s history.

“The history of Evesham is not just the abbey, plenty has happened since then and we’re part of it.

“Evesham has lost an awful lot of its horticultural heritage over the years and lots of growers have packed up and big business has moved in.

‘We’re like a little remembrance to how things once were,” he added.

Sandra Robbins, who took over her late father’s plot 14 years ago following his death, told the Observer being an allotment holder was more than just a hobby.

“My growing knowledge has spanned over 40 years. My father was a market gardener here. I was brought up with it and taught from a very young age and I used all that knowledge when my father passed away.

“I’ve been down here for 14 years. It’s my life, it is what I do and it’s not just a hobby,” she added.

An alternative site hits a hitch 

A war of words appears to have broken out over an alternative site for the evicted allotment holders.

When the Abbey Gardens Trust proposal came forward last year, the Rudge Estate offered land on Sawmill Lane, at the back of Briar Close, to Evesham Town Council.

However, Town Clerk Stuart Carter said: “The council was not happy with the conditions relating to the length of the lease and was not happy to meet the entire cost of connecting water and providing fencing.

“The agents were informed of this to see if a counter proposal would be made but the negotiations went no further.”

However this provoked a strong response from the Rudge Estate, who said: “We’re waiting for Evesham Town Council to get back to us.

“The land has been offered and there are certain issues being clarified,” a spokesman said.

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