David and Tracey are being unfairly evicted from their statutory allotment plot, which they have held for over 12 years - we believe that this is clearly due to personal discrimination.
The allotment site is a statutory site, owned by Derby City Council, but devolved to an external association. National guidance from the Local Government Association, and advice from the National Allotment Society (the recognised national body for allotments) all suggests that Councils have the legal means and the duty to intervene in such cases. At least one elected councillor for DCC agrees, and has asked the council to take action. The NAS legal team has also advised the council (and ourselves) that the council should take action. Nonetheless, the relevant council officers are refusing to act, whilst the devolved committee maintain that they have no accountability to anybody, despite this being public land.
We can clearly evidence all of this and can evidence numerous breeches by the committee of their contracts, tenancy agreements, lease, and GDPR. These are all grounds for DCC to step in and act and have been comprehensively and explicitly outlined to DCC who are still refusing to act. It has also come to light through various FOIs and communications that DCC appear to be failing in other statutory obligations, such as properly monitoring allotment demand in their area.
We believe that DCC are breaching their obligations laid out in the various allotment acts and failing to provide a satisfactory service. We are seeking legal advice on this and feel that the involvement of a solicitor might help to bring this to a resolution.
We feel that beyond our own individual case is a much wider underlying issue and concern. Our research suggests that, whilst most councils do tend to follow national guidance and the allotment acts, when it comes to devolved allotments, there are a growing number who are using commercial leases and attempting to wash their hands of the obligations placed upon them by the various allotment acts, and that Derby City may be proactively advocating this approach to other councils. We believe that allotments, and the various allotment acts, are deeply rooted in history, are far from trivial, and stem from a tacit acknowledgement of the fundamental right to a space to grow one’s own food.
As such, we are interested in pursuing this, not only to resolve our own case, but possibly to set a precedent which will help safeguard allotments, and underpin the council's duties to uphold them, which seems sadly, to be very low down their list of priorities. We have tried for months, both with the committee and with the council, to resolve this without resorting to legal action, but we now feel we have no further options. Please donate to help fund the legal proceedings.