Council changes to allotment holders’ tenancy agreements have been labelled ‘bananas’.
Town hall bosses have produced a 30-page document including a ban on bonfires and use of mechanical tools – apart from strimmers, instructions for filling in risk assessments, rules on dealing with rats, taking phones onto allotment sites and the sale of produce.
Jenny McKean, who has a plot at Heys Allotments in Oswaldtwistle, said: “It’s absolutely bananas. They’re putting in all these silly new rules which are contradictory and ridiculous.
“We’re going to have to do risk assessments. When you’ve caught a rat you have to burn it and dispose of it but you’re not allowed a bonfire – it makes no sense.” Oswaldtwistle councillor Doug Hayes said up to 20 residents had already contacted him with concerns over the changes.
He said: “It’s a difficult situation but there doesn’t seem to be much consultation before people will have to sign these new agreements.
“People have approached me from Oswaldtwistle and Great Harwood and they’re not happy. They feel they’re being dictated to.
“Some of these people have had allotments for 30 or 40 years and they’re frustrated they can’t seem to get any answers.”
Coun Hayes is calling for a public meeting for the council to answer the questions of plot-holders.
But Cath Holmes, of Hyndburn Federation of Allotments, said many of the changes being brought in were ‘just common sense’.
She said: “It’s to address some issues there's been on some of the sites with anti-social behaviour, people using them as a cheap caravan storage site or for storing building materials.
“I believe someone discharged a firearm, probably to deal with vermin, but you can’t do that in a public area and there’s been issues with really excessive water usage.”
Hyndburn council said the new rules are to ensure consistency on allotments throughout the borough and urged people to give their feedback.
Bonfires are not allowed as all waste has to be composted or disposed of away from the allotment.
Coun Ciaran Wells, cabinet member for allotments, said: “We want everyone to have their say about the proposed new allotment guidelines and rules, so please pick up a hard copy or visit the website at www.hyndburnbc.gov.uk.”
He added the documents had already been discussed with the Hyndburn Federation of Allotments for consultation and comment.