Hampshire allotment holders are filled with shock and dismay following the receipt of eviction notices.

Villagers in King’s Somborne are furious about letters they received from the diocese of Winchester during the festive period.

For over a hundred years, residents of the picturesque village in the Test valley, Hampshire, have cultivated fruits and vegetables on allotments. However, the landowner, the diocese of Winchester, has issued eviction notices to make room for housing, sparking outrage among plot holders.

Andrew Causer, the chair of the allotment association, expressed his disgust at the timing of the letters and criticized the diocese for its lack of Christian leadership. He emphasized the well-known benefits of growing one’s own food inexpensively, especially during times of financial hardship.

Although an alternative allotment site was offered to the plot holders, Causer deemed it unsuitable due to its steep slope, often utilized for tobogganing.

One of the evicted allotment holders, Glenda Sims, 87, condemned the decision, stating that the inconvenience of living in a remote area without easy access to food stores made cultivating their own produce vital. She emphasized the importance of allotments in relieving stress and maintaining healthy relationships.

Caroline Nokes, Member of Parliament for Romsey, criticized the diocese for sending the eviction notices during Christmas, causing significant distress to the recipients. Nokes highlighted the irony of the Church of England evicting longstanding plot holders from fertile land, despite the archbishop of Canterbury’s recent discussions on sustainability and food prices.

A spokesperson from the diocese of Winchester acknowledged the ongoing discussions since 2018 regarding the relocation of the allotments in King’s Somborne and the development of the existing site. The spokesperson recognized the complexity of balancing charity legislation, ecclesiastical law, and the desires of local community groups. They assured the allotment holders that a clear timescale will be provided soon to facilitate their preparation for the relocation to the adjacent allotment site and its facilities.

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