Allotment holders clash over prohibitive new rules
LONGSTANDING allotment holders in Thornford claim they are being pushed out by "incomers".
Members of Thornford and Beer Hackett Allotment Association clashed over proposed new membership clauses relating to insurance and operating hours at their AGM last Tuesday night.
Extra plots were created in 2010 to meet growing pressure on the association's waiting list.
Less than three years later, longstanding members say they are being pushed out by new rules to suit new members.
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Terry White, 76,who has been an allotment holder for four decades, spoke out against a proposed new clause that would require all members to be covered by pubic liability insurance. Insurers approached by the association would not provide cover for anyone aged over 75.
Mr White also complained about the lack of enforcement when rented plots become neglected and cast weed seeds on to neighbouring plots and was also concerned by a proposed clause that would force members to seek permission before being allowed to fence off plots to keep off pests such as rabbits.
Concerns were also raised about new neighbours calling for the opening time to shift from 7am to 10am at weekends to reduce disturbance in the mornings. According to members, the option of an early start has always been helpful to enable them to work around the weather.
"Incomers, I call it. Outsiders come in and try to run the place," Mr White said.
"I have been an allotment holder here for 40 years and for 36 of them it was perfect. The last four years: rubbish. We old allotment holders have our rules and you new people have yours."
Outgoing chairman Ian Thompson explained that the club's proposed insurance rules are based on national guidance.
"We were advised public liability insurance should be paid. We went through the National Association of Allotment Holders and they passed the enquiry on to another company but we could not find a company who would cover everyone."