Ken’s allotments plea to councillors

Ken Patterson at one of his plots.
Ken Patterson at one of his plots.

An allotment holder in Cramlington has called on the town council to compensate him for culvert clearing work.

Ken Patterson took on one of his plots at the Nelson Village site in 1987 and the other in 2000. He recently paid the remaining rent for the year ahead, but only ‘under protest’ and he hopes the newly-elected Cramlington Town Council, which has a Conservative majority, will better support him and the other plot holders as they were unhappy with decisions made by the previous administration.

He wants it to look into arranging a payment or money off future rent – the amount suggested is £600 – for the clearing work he did at the culvert at one of his plots for the benefit of the site as he said a town council letter thanking him for his hard work recognises what he did, but only waiving a £52.50 concessionary fee was ‘not good enough’.

Mr Patterson said that rent went up ‘significantly under the Labour-run town council’ from £65 in 2012 to £112.70 for one of his plots in 2017/18.

“They kept moving the goalposts by making changes to the rules and regulations without taking account of our views,” he added.

“One example is the decision last year to restrict the periods when fires are allowed during the burning season (November 1 to March 31) to 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday. Before then, you could have a fire at any time during those dates, including at weekends.

“I hope the new council will take a different approach.”

Former town councillor John Cole’s view was as follows: “His claim seems pretty reasonable to me, although I believe there were issues with regards to insurance.

“If there is documentary evidence of the town council recognising that he carried out this work for the benefit of the allotment site, he should be recompensed in some way for the work he has done.”

A spokesman for the authority said: “We’re very saddened that this matter has escalated to this extent and as a new administration that has inherited these issues from previous administrations, we will be offering a mediation meeting with Mr Patterson to see what reasonable measures can be addressed.”