Pontefract allotment holders could be forced to move as Wakefield Council considers selling land

A group of allotment holders may be forced to leave their plots after being told the local council could be selling the land.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 4:59 pm
Allotment holders are angry about the prospect of having to move to a smaller site.

Tenants at Bondgate Allotments in Pontefract, some of whom have cultivated land on the site for decades, are angry at the prospect of having to up sticks.

It's understood Wakefield Council has been approached by a prospective buyer interested in purchasing the land but the local authority would not confirm the identity of that party.

However, the council insists no final decision has been taken.

But one allotment holder said tenants had already been offered a site nearby that was significantly smaller than their current spaces, located off Atkinson Lane in the town.

Eric Jones, 79, said that the importance of the allotments to many local people had been amplified by lockdowns.

He said: "For some people it’s the only enjoyment and exercise they’ve been able to get recently.

"I’ve been going with my eldest son since I retired but some of the people down there have been there since 1972.

"Where we’ve been offered a new space, there’s only enough for eight or nine allotments.

"How is everything going to be moved across? I’ve got two greenhouses, this year’s crops, there’s a space where we have tea and coffee.

"They’ll need a fleet of 40 foot trucks to do it."

In a statement, the council's corporate director for communities, Glynn Humphries, said: "In common with many local authorities who own land, we are required to regular assess our assets, which includes Bondgate allotments in Pontefract, to see if we are making the best use of council assets for the benefit of residents in our district.

"Should any proposals be considered in future for this site, consultations would be carried out, in line with all the relevant national guidance.”

Asked specifically if this meant the allotments were definitely being sold or were up for sale, Mr Humphries added: "This has not yet been decided as we consider proposals."

Local Democracy Reporting Service