Gardener calls for allotment action

A MORPETH resident has called for urgent action because his pretty plot is being overshadowed by some awful allotments.

There are five sections of land available at St Mary’s Field, owned by the Isos housing association, and Frankie Vendittelli has carefully looked after one of them for years.

Resident Frankie Vendittelli is angry about the state of three allotment plots in St Mary's Field, Morpeth, run by Isos, which are next to his well-looked after plot.

Resident Frankie Vendittelli is angry about the state of three allotment plots in St Mary's Field, Morpeth, run by Isos, which are next to his well-looked after plot.

But he has become increasingly concerned with the state of three plots next to his, which are full of weeds, empty pots and bags and litter.

He and other residents have seen rats and even a couple sleeping rough in a garage on one of the sites and they got in touch with Morpeth Town Council after not being satisfied with the response from Isos.

Moves are now underway to try to find a way forward, with one possibility being a transfer of the land to the local authority.

Mr Vendittelli said: “There is a big waiting list for allotments at Tommy’s Field and Middle Greens, so it’s a big shame that there are three plots in St Mary’s Field which can’t be used because they’re in a disgraceful state.

“All Isos has done recently is partially trim some hedges as a superficial gesture. It looks like it hasn’t got the finance or the manpower to deal with the problem.

“The herbicides that were apparently used must have been mistaken for a fertiliser as the weeds are thriving. The rubbish which was never removed has accumulated and has now resumed for fly-tipping and the broken fences remain broken.

“These allotments can only be described as derelict and it will take a lot of work to make them fit for use.

“My impression is that the county council doesn’t want to know unless it is an environmental problem, but surely it must be concerned if people are sleeping rough on the site?”

Morpeth town councillor Ken Brown has taken up the case on behalf of the residents and a formal meeting is being arranged between representatives of the authority and housing association.

An Isos spokesman said: “These allotments have not been well used in recent times and we have employed contractors on several occasions to clear away rubbish and cut back weeds. Another contractor will be on site this week to tackle the overgrown areas.

“We have spoken to Mr Vendittelli on several occasions about this site and four different officers have visited the allotments to hear his concerns.

“We are willing to rent the allotments to local residents interested in cultivating them, but are also happy to speak to the town council or others with an interest in the area to find a way for this area to be better maintained in the longer term.”