Colne allotment holders battle to save plots from charity sell-off

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A GROUP of allotment owners in Colne are battling to save their plots after the landowner, the Peter Birtwistle Trust, announced it was selling them off.

Chairman of the trust Mr Alan Davies has confirmed he had started steps to sell the land in Carry Lane.

He said: “Maintaining the allotments is getting too expensive and is detracting from our charitable purpose. We are in the process of putting the land on the open market.”

Allotment holders have expressed their sadness at the decision and hope the new landowners will use the site for the same purpose. Plot holder Stanley Lord said: “I had heard rumours the land might be sold. We were due to have a meeting this week with the trust to discuss plot prices but this was cancelled as they said they needed to assess the situation.

“I’m retired and have invested a lot of time and effort into my allotment, I’ve put greenhouses on it and everything so it would be a real shame to lose it especially as allotments are so hard to come by now. I want to be given the chance to buy my plot from the trust, but failing this I need enough notice to clear my property off the land.”

Waterside Ward councillor Tony Greaves said he was anxious for the land to remain in allotment use.

“The land has been used for allotments for as long as I can remember. It would not be suitable for building on as it is right on the edge of the countryside.

“Of course, we have to take every planning application on its own merit but I think anyone wanting to use the land for anything other then allotments may struggle to get permission.

“One possibility is that the council buys the land off the trust to keep it as allotments or people could buy their own plot and run it privately.” He added that some plot holders had been concerned by the recent siting of a caravan on land adjacent to the allotments. “There is a stationary caravan on the field at the moment and there has been shifting of earth. This has been reported to planning officers and is being investigated” he said.