Gardener David Rawlinson evicted from Southampton allotment for failing to meet standards

David Rawlinson at his former allotment

David Rawlinson at his former allotment

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

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.”

Comments (23)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:17am Sun 8 Jun 14

Huey says...

Maybe he should grow some sour grapes instead.
Maybe he should grow some sour grapes instead. Huey
  • Score: 10

8:21am Sun 8 Jun 14

Positively4thStreet says...

Huey wrote:
Maybe he should grow some sour grapes instead.
It ment allot to him though.
[quote][p][bold]Huey[/bold] wrote: Maybe he should grow some sour grapes instead.[/p][/quote]It ment allot to him though. Positively4thStreet
  • Score: 14

9:03am Sun 8 Jun 14

derek james says...

im sure this will become more common as councils look for more land to build houses on
im sure this will become more common as councils look for more land to build houses on derek james
  • Score: 4

9:06am Sun 8 Jun 14

richard57 says...

he is welcome to come and do my garden and unlike the council i wont charge.
he is welcome to come and do my garden and unlike the council i wont charge. richard57
  • Score: 20

9:48am Sun 8 Jun 14

excusemoi says...

Soon there will be no allotments as all the bits of land and green areas are being built on. The council have always been strict on how an allotment looks. I hope he manages to keep it.
Soon there will be no allotments as all the bits of land and green areas are being built on. The council have always been strict on how an allotment looks. I hope he manages to keep it. excusemoi
  • Score: 6

10:21am Sun 8 Jun 14

10 Minute Man says...

The council aren't planning to build houses on it, they will just give it to someone who obeys the rules. If you don't have the time to weed and look after it, you have to give it up. It need not be stereotypicaly veg plots - there are some which are well tended flower/shrub gardens.
The council aren't planning to build houses on it, they will just give it to someone who obeys the rules. If you don't have the time to weed and look after it, you have to give it up. It need not be stereotypicaly veg plots - there are some which are well tended flower/shrub gardens. 10 Minute Man
  • Score: 15

10:25am Sun 8 Jun 14

southy says...

Not many people where able to get much done in allotments and gardens this year because of the heavy late rains and colder weather and those that did manage it lost a lot of seeds and young plants in the ground they just rotted away
Not many people where able to get much done in allotments and gardens this year because of the heavy late rains and colder weather and those that did manage it lost a lot of seeds and young plants in the ground they just rotted away southy
  • Score: 2

10:26am Sun 8 Jun 14

skeptik says...

Often it is others having a word about weed seeds spreading across their plots.
Often it is others having a word about weed seeds spreading across their plots. skeptik
  • Score: 2

10:43am Sun 8 Jun 14

mickey01 says...

i have managed to grow veg and flowers in my garden so the weather is no excuse .
i have managed to grow veg and flowers in my garden so the weather is no excuse . mickey01
  • Score: 4

11:00am Sun 8 Jun 14

Linesman says...

southy wrote:
Not many people where able to get much done in allotments and gardens this year because of the heavy late rains and colder weather and those that did manage it lost a lot of seeds and young plants in the ground they just rotted away
I seem to recall that there was a mini-heatwave in March. That is when I did a lot of 'catching up' on my allotment.

I would certainly not want to have someone like David Rawlinson on the plot next to mine, as weeds are invasive and I have enough problems keeping mine at bay.

I have no doubt that there is a waiting list for allotments on his site, and many of those who are on that list would do a far better job.
[quote][p][bold]southy[/bold] wrote: Not many people where able to get much done in allotments and gardens this year because of the heavy late rains and colder weather and those that did manage it lost a lot of seeds and young plants in the ground they just rotted away[/p][/quote]I seem to recall that there was a mini-heatwave in March. That is when I did a lot of 'catching up' on my allotment. I would certainly not want to have someone like David Rawlinson on the plot next to mine, as weeds are invasive and I have enough problems keeping mine at bay. I have no doubt that there is a waiting list for allotments on his site, and many of those who are on that list would do a far better job. Linesman
  • Score: 7

11:14am Sun 8 Jun 14

Stubs says...

There all a load of vegetables.
There all a load of vegetables. Stubs
  • Score: -1

11:15am Sun 8 Jun 14

southy says...

Linesman wrote:
southy wrote:
Not many people where able to get much done in allotments and gardens this year because of the heavy late rains and colder weather and those that did manage it lost a lot of seeds and young plants in the ground they just rotted away
I seem to recall that there was a mini-heatwave in March. That is when I did a lot of 'catching up' on my allotment.

I would certainly not want to have someone like David Rawlinson on the plot next to mine, as weeds are invasive and I have enough problems keeping mine at bay.

I have no doubt that there is a waiting list for allotments on his site, and many of those who are on that list would do a far better job.
Yes I did too Lines, but it went wet and cold after wards I lost half my Spud seeders because of it, Some years it happens even Farmers are saying that they have lost crops for this year.
Weeds Then you can also blame the Council for part of that problem, like the grass area in front of where I live is a foot long and also sorts of weeds growing there, Most Weed seeds travel with the wind and can be blown a few miles or 2
[quote][p][bold]Linesman[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]southy[/bold] wrote: Not many people where able to get much done in allotments and gardens this year because of the heavy late rains and colder weather and those that did manage it lost a lot of seeds and young plants in the ground they just rotted away[/p][/quote]I seem to recall that there was a mini-heatwave in March. That is when I did a lot of 'catching up' on my allotment. I would certainly not want to have someone like David Rawlinson on the plot next to mine, as weeds are invasive and I have enough problems keeping mine at bay. I have no doubt that there is a waiting list for allotments on his site, and many of those who are on that list would do a far better job.[/p][/quote]Yes I did too Lines, but it went wet and cold after wards I lost half my Spud seeders because of it, Some years it happens even Farmers are saying that they have lost crops for this year. Weeds Then you can also blame the Council for part of that problem, like the grass area in front of where I live is a foot long and also sorts of weeds growing there, Most Weed seeds travel with the wind and can be blown a few miles or 2 southy
  • Score: 0

11:33am Sun 8 Jun 14

Maine Lobster says...

It looks a total mess. His excuse that the weather prevented him from growing things is rubbish. I pass many allotments regularly where the user is maintaining and growing flowers and veg. This guy has no excuse. if he can't maintain title due to illness, that is unfortunate but it can't be allowed to go to rack and ruin.
It looks a total mess. His excuse that the weather prevented him from growing things is rubbish. I pass many allotments regularly where the user is maintaining and growing flowers and veg. This guy has no excuse. if he can't maintain title due to illness, that is unfortunate but it can't be allowed to go to rack and ruin. Maine Lobster
  • Score: 7

11:45am Sun 8 Jun 14

sparkster says...

My brother in Devon has an allotment and a few people were warned about keeping it tidy, they didnt so the council turfed them out, when others keep their allotments up together it isnt fair on the ones who do, weeds as we all know spread
My brother in Devon has an allotment and a few people were warned about keeping it tidy, they didnt so the council turfed them out, when others keep their allotments up together it isnt fair on the ones who do, weeds as we all know spread sparkster
  • Score: 6

11:48am Sun 8 Jun 14

southy says...

10 Minute Man wrote:
The council aren't planning to build houses on it, they will just give it to someone who obeys the rules. If you don't have the time to weed and look after it, you have to give it up. It need not be stereotypicaly veg plots - there are some which are well tended flower/shrub gardens.
Maybe not this allotment yet, but in the end it will be built on Millbrook and Redbridge areas have lost a lot of Allotment spaces because they been built on.
The last Tory Council was looking at Lower Tanners Brook allotments half of it they wanted to build on, and other allotments in the area.
[quote][p][bold]10 Minute Man[/bold] wrote: The council aren't planning to build houses on it, they will just give it to someone who obeys the rules. If you don't have the time to weed and look after it, you have to give it up. It need not be stereotypicaly veg plots - there are some which are well tended flower/shrub gardens.[/p][/quote]Maybe not this allotment yet, but in the end it will be built on Millbrook and Redbridge areas have lost a lot of Allotment spaces because they been built on. The last Tory Council was looking at Lower Tanners Brook allotments half of it they wanted to build on, and other allotments in the area. southy
  • Score: 3

11:55am Sun 8 Jun 14

dango says...

SCC should first look in their own back yards at all the Ragwort that is around. They have a duty to remove it under the Weeds Act 1959 but don't.
SCC should first look in their own back yards at all the Ragwort that is around. They have a duty to remove it under the Weeds Act 1959 but don't. dango
  • Score: 9

3:29pm Sun 8 Jun 14

WalkingOnAWire says...

The Echo likes a bit of muck-raking and digging up dirt. Perhaps they could help this gentleman?
The Echo likes a bit of muck-raking and digging up dirt. Perhaps they could help this gentleman? WalkingOnAWire
  • Score: 4

7:25pm Sun 8 Jun 14

Stubs says...

WalkingOnAWire wrote:
The Echo likes a bit of muck-raking and digging up dirt. Perhaps they could help this gentleman?
No they have better things to do. Like dig up more dirt.
[quote][p][bold]WalkingOnAWire[/bold] wrote: The Echo likes a bit of muck-raking and digging up dirt. Perhaps they could help this gentleman?[/p][/quote]No they have better things to do. Like dig up more dirt. Stubs
  • Score: 0

9:26pm Sun 8 Jun 14

loosehead says...

I know that Sue Ashdown gives allotment holders plenty of chances sometimes upsetting others by not evicting people who turn up dig half then leave it.
I gave up my plot because I was moving cities but I'm now staying so have applied for a plot.
I dig it before Winter(Autumn) plant Garlic & Onions & a few other crops then go back every week to make sure the birds haven't taken all my bulbs then in the new year I plant spuds & Corn & all the rest.
this guy had 5-6months to get it ready for the new year a new plot holder gets about a month.
I can't believe anyone can justify saying the councils unfair to allotment holders!
Having a badly kept plot next to your own is really bad as bind weed & other weeds spread to yours so kick off all those who don't keep the plots up to scratch should be what happens.
I know that Sue Ashdown gives allotment holders plenty of chances sometimes upsetting others by not evicting people who turn up dig half then leave it. I gave up my plot because I was moving cities but I'm now staying so have applied for a plot. I dig it before Winter(Autumn) plant Garlic & Onions & a few other crops then go back every week to make sure the birds haven't taken all my bulbs then in the new year I plant spuds & Corn & all the rest. this guy had 5-6months to get it ready for the new year a new plot holder gets about a month. I can't believe anyone can justify saying the councils unfair to allotment holders! Having a badly kept plot next to your own is really bad as bind weed & other weeds spread to yours so kick off all those who don't keep the plots up to scratch should be what happens. loosehead
  • Score: 0

8:33am Mon 9 Jun 14

tootle says...

When you know what Ataxia is and how it affects people's lives then you can comment. If he has ataxia and still wants or is able to garden then he should be encouraged, maybe given a half plot and some help from the neighbours who don't like his weeds. Of course they may not like him anyway. Would have thought somebody could sort the chap out - there are plots worked communally in various areas - maybe he cold help out there?
When you know what Ataxia is and how it affects people's lives then you can comment. If he has ataxia and still wants or is able to garden then he should be encouraged, maybe given a half plot and some help from the neighbours who don't like his weeds. Of course they may not like him anyway. Would have thought somebody could sort the chap out - there are plots worked communally in various areas - maybe he cold help out there? tootle
  • Score: -1

12:27pm Mon 9 Jun 14

From the sidelines says...

"plot is not cultivated to minimum standards – meaning it has to be 50 per cent cultivated and 50 per cent weed-free"

"Gardening is my passion and it means a great deal to me"

Considering the contradictions between these two statements, it would appear that gardening is David Rawlinson's passion in the same way that long distance running is mine.
"plot is not cultivated to minimum standards – meaning it has to be 50 per cent cultivated and 50 per cent weed-free" "Gardening is my passion and it means a great deal to me" Considering the contradictions between these two statements, it would appear that gardening is David Rawlinson's passion in the same way that long distance running is mine. From the sidelines
  • Score: 1

2:27pm Mon 9 Jun 14

loosehead says...

tootle wrote:
When you know what Ataxia is and how it affects people's lives then you can comment. If he has ataxia and still wants or is able to garden then he should be encouraged, maybe given a half plot and some help from the neighbours who don't like his weeds. Of course they may not like him anyway. Would have thought somebody could sort the chap out - there are plots worked communally in various areas - maybe he cold help out there?
tootle plots have been broken up because people have said they can't manage the whole plot but still no work has been done.
I had a neighbour who would dig/rotovate half his plot & plant but leave the other half to go to weed.
I talked to him & as he had to travel a lot we came to a deal I'd dig his wild half he'd rotovate my half .
I done the digging he did nothing what he had planted was left to rot in the ground & he did the same every year he wasn't evicted & we wanted to know why not.
This guy's plot must be seriously bad for it to be repossessed .
[quote][p][bold]tootle[/bold] wrote: When you know what Ataxia is and how it affects people's lives then you can comment. If he has ataxia and still wants or is able to garden then he should be encouraged, maybe given a half plot and some help from the neighbours who don't like his weeds. Of course they may not like him anyway. Would have thought somebody could sort the chap out - there are plots worked communally in various areas - maybe he cold help out there?[/p][/quote]tootle plots have been broken up because people have said they can't manage the whole plot but still no work has been done. I had a neighbour who would dig/rotovate half his plot & plant but leave the other half to go to weed. I talked to him & as he had to travel a lot we came to a deal I'd dig his wild half he'd rotovate my half . I done the digging he did nothing what he had planted was left to rot in the ground & he did the same every year he wasn't evicted & we wanted to know why not. This guy's plot must be seriously bad for it to be repossessed . loosehead
  • Score: 0

3:09pm Mon 9 Jun 14

Peoples Choice says...

If that happened to me I would lose the plot!!!
If that happened to me I would lose the plot!!! Peoples Choice
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree