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Ramsgate Town Council takes away allotment in Chilton Lane East due to unacceptable state

A Ramsgate woman who had her allotment taken away by the council after it was judged to be in an unacceptable state has spoken out over the decision.

Jeni Butler, 55, said the news ruined her Christmas when the amenities committee on Ramsgate Town Council (RTC) terminated her tenancy.

Jeni Butler on her allotment in Chilton Lane East.
Jeni Butler on her allotment in Chilton Lane East.

Allotment officer Eileen Richford of RTC submitted a report in June and gave Ms Butler six months to reach three targets.

But the committee found that the targets were not met and asked for the keys to be returned on December 31.

Ms Butler, who lives in Waterloo Place, had been working on the plot despite suffering with chronic fatigue syndrome and was “appalled” at the decision.

She said: “This plot of land has transformed - anyone would be willing to take it on now but it was in a dreadful state two years ago.

“It needs more time to recover and it is in a decent state now. There is no truth in these claims of neglect and it has ruined Christmas.

“I’m just appalled at the decision.”

Pictures of the plot in Chilton Lane East were taken by Eileen Richford in November.

They showed tarpaulin and cardboard covering the ground after a heavy downpour.

Ms Butler added: “I was clearing the plot for winter, everything was in a mess and other circumstances meant it was not ready for assessment.

“The pictures from November were the only ones presented to the committee by the allotment officer who did not monitor on a regular basis as we had agreed.

“The information presented to the council was skewed.”

The half-plot has been used to grow fruit, vegetables and flowers since August 2012.

Ramsgate town councillor Peter Campbell, a member of the committee that made the decision, said: “We have a long waiting list for these allotments and if someone is not cultivating their land properly they are given ample warning to fix the situation.”

Cllr Campbell explained that the system was “transparent and fair”.

Cllr Peter Campbell
Cllr Peter Campbell

“If the allotment is found not to be sufficiently cultivated, a warning is made by the town clerk and improvements must be made.

“If these targets are not met then the individual has a chance to appeal for a chance to get their allotment into shape.

“If the plot is still not cultivated properly after these chances then it is time to hand the keys to the next allotment holder.

“This is a transparent and fair system and the land is monitored on a regular basis.”

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