OAP told to get off untidy allotment

The allotments owned by St Elizabeth's Church in Aspull
The allotments owned by St Elizabeth's Church in Aspull

A PENSIONER is facing eviction from his beloved allotment.

Les Gough says that he and one other tenant are being “unfairly picked on” in a row over untidy plots.

But landlords say that the 79-year-old has refused to sign new compliance documents and that there have been several complaints about him making a mess on part of his land by dumping all manner of materials there.

However, Mr Gough says that the particular eyesore flagged up by the trustees isn’t his, that no-one’s allotment is looking its best in the middle of winter and that many plots are in a far worse state than his.

The allotment is situated near Aspull Wrestling Club off Wigan Road on land belonging to St Elizabeth’s Church. The trustees – vicar Rev Simon Pritchard and two churchwardens – sent him a letter earlier this month.

It says it had been decided Mr Gough be banned with immediate effect from using the allotment and that he should clean up his plot and remove all his items stored on it by February 16.

The letter continues: “If you fail to comply then we will take action to remove anything you have left behind and, if necessary we will take legal action to recover any costs that we incur.”

Mr Gough is informed that he has no leave to appeal. It cites his failure to complete a registration document and acknowledge the rules stated on it along with complaints about him, not least Wigan Council environmental services.

But Mr Gough said: “I have tended the plot for more than 20 years. I have just put 12 apple trees and there are also grapevines and herbs.

“At this time of year it doesn’t look up to much but neither does anyone else’s. In fact, mine is a lot smarter than many and yet I and one other tenant have been picked on.”

He said he had refused to sign the document because he had been there for two decades without any need for such paperwork.

Liverpool Anglican Diocese issued a statement on behalf of the trustees, which said: “The trustees started to review how the allotments could be managed a couple of years ago as we wanted to make sure that all allotment holders managed their plots to the proper standards.

“Unfortunately, two allotments holders have not signed to say they agree to the rules set out in our letter. It was therefore regretfully that we issued those holders with a notice to say that as they had not completed the registration document, they would be be barred from holding an allotment.

“They also expressed concerns over a number of complaints received about the condition and use of the allotments. The trustees have a duty to ensure good management for the benefit of all holders and the wider community.”