Oakham allotment holders left ‘heart broken’ by eviction

Rob Bowley at his allotment in Brooke Road, Oakham EMN-150608-114431001
Rob Bowley at his allotment in Brooke Road, Oakham EMN-150608-114431001

A community of allotment holders in Brooke Road, Oakham, who have been on the site for up to 50 years, have been left ‘heartbroken’ after finding out that the land will be sold for development.

Allotment holders at Brooke Road Allotments in Oakham, face eviction from the site, which has held a near hundred year tenancy, following the decision of the owners of the land, Burley Estate Farm Partnership (BEFP)to sell the site for development.

BEFP has given Oakham Home Gardens and Allotment Society (OHGAS), which manages Brooke Road and three other sites in Oakham, formal notice to quit the site by the end of October 2016.

The society currently rents Brooke Road on an annual basis. The informal arrangement runs spring to spring for 12 months rental.

Rob Bowley is one of the stewards at Brooke Road Allotments and has his own allotment at the site which he has nurtured for the past 30 years. He said: “We’ve always known it’s a possibly that they would sell the land, but we always hoped that it wouldn’t happen.

“It’s a great loss to the community that has formed here over the years. This is a beautiful site, full of nature and wildlife.

“After 30 years of time and investment, I just can’t summon up the enthusiasm to start all over again.”

Helena Hield, also has an allotment at the Brooke Road site, she has spent the past 13 years enjoying the allotment with her husband. She said: “It’s a real shame. It won’t be the same, the community is being broken up.”

BEFP is now in the process of applying for planning permission, and is currently in discussions with OHGAS in terms of compensation.

OHGAS have offered all members at Brooke Road alternative allotments on other sites and several have already taken this opportunity.

Unfortunately not everyone will be able to make the move, including a man who’s aged 91 and has nurtured his allotment for over 50 years.