Growers dig in for fight to keep allotment sheds

A row has erupted in a Staffordshire village where allotment holders have been told they may have to take down their sheds because they do not have planning permission.

Growers dig in for fight to keep allotment sheds

A row has erupted in a Staffordshire village where allotment holders have been told they may have to take down their sheds because they do not have planning permission.

Growers on the Plum Pudding allotment site in Armitage, near Rugeley, are up in arms.

Lichfield District Council says the traditional wooden huts are banned because the privately owned site is on green belt land and next to the Trent & Mersey Canal conservation area.

But the site's 105 plot-holders disagree. Builder Robin Cunningham said: "Talk about jobsworths – the council is just being stupid. There are allotment sheds all over the country - why should it be any different in our village?"

The site was quickly filled when local farmer Paul Boston set it up in March but council officers carrying out a survey in September took exception to the 44 sheds so far erected and wrote to Mr Boston about their "cumulative impact" on the visual amenity.

Mr Boston said: "I can have pigpens on the site, I can have hen houses and polytunnels, I can even have stables with skids, but the council are saying I can't let allow tenants to have 6ft by 4ft sheds."

Plot-holder John Sadler, a 74-year-old former electrician, said: "You can't have an allotment without a shed. They're essential, you can't keep carting your equipment up and down, and they're shelter for when it rains. It's not as if the sheds are ramshackle; they're are all brand new."

David Perry, 65, a retired plumbing contracts manager, said: "People will leave if they can't have sheds."

Mr Sadler, the first to move onto the plot, said he rang the council to check that he could put up a shed and was told he could.

Cabinet member Councillor Neil Roberts is investigating the complaints.

He said: "Garden sheds generally don't need planning permission. However, sheds on allotments can require it."

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