A PENSIONER is embroiled in a battle with council bosses after being evicted from his beloved allotment.

Keen gardener David Rawlinson was forced out of his plot in Radcliffe Road Allotments by Southampton City Council, who say it was overgrown and full of weeds.

The former Mencap support worker has tended his plot for four years and grows herbs and flowers on it.

The retired 65-year-old, from Portswood, Southampton, told the Daily Echo he had hoped to make the plot into a peaceful oasis.

But he claims he was unable to work on it as much as he would have liked after being diagnosed with ataxia, which has affected his mobility.

Mr Rawlinson said that he had made Southampton City Council aware of his condition on two occasions. His situation wasn’t helped by the weather, which meant he couldn’t grow vegetables and flowers due to heavy rain in the spring.

But council officers say Mr Rawlinson’s plot is not cultivated to minimum standards – meaning it has to be 50 per cent cultivated and 50 per cent weed-free – and are in the process of repossessing it.

He is now pleading with council chiefs to give him a reprieve.

Mr Rawlinson said: “I think the council have been heavy-handed. Gardening is my passion and it means a great deal to me, and I would miss it enormously if I wasn’t able to do it.

“I think I will be able to get it into working shape if they gave me some time to work on things. All I need is a month or two.”

A spokesman for the council would not be drawn on whether there would be any hope of a reprieve.

Instead, a statement said: “Allotments in the city are extremely popular, with some people waiting over five years.

“The council takes a consistent approach when dealing with repossession for non-cultivation. Any allotment-holder found not keeping their plot to the required standard is first warned, and then if the situation does not improve, the plot is repossessed.”