A DOZEN tenants at Longham Allotment Gardens in Ferndown have been told they will lose their plots.

Many have told of their upset after being given a year’s notice by the town council, who became the new owners of the site on Wednesday.

But the council’s Allotments Association Committee have defended the plans, and said they are legally obliged to give priority to Ferndown residents.

Andrew Allen, whose home is in West Parley, lives just yards away from the sign welcoming visitors to Ferndown, but is set to lose his allotment.

“I can walk to the boundary of the town in about two minutes,” he said.

“I’ve had an allotment there for 10 years. I think they should just let the 12 stay, and draw a line under it.”

Jeff Kirkham, who lives in West Parley, and his father-in-law Roger Castle, of Parkstone, said they were ‘extremely hacked off’, and Mr Castle said he will may seek legal action to fight against the move.

“I want to know if you’re hiding behind the law on this one,” he asked councillors during the meeting.

“Is there any sympathy for us or is it a case of, ‘this is the law, and you’re out’?”

Mr Kirkham said: “What’s another year?

“We’ve got established fruit trees on our allotment. It’s just terrible news for us.”

Ken Fanner has recently moved from Ferndown to Townsend, and has been at his allotment for six years.

“I’m disabled, and my allotment is one of the only things I can get along to do,” he said.

Chairman of the town council committee Cllr Steve Lugg said he owns an allotment at the site, and understands what owners are going through.

He said: “This is not a case of them doing it to us – I am an allotment holder, and I understand how frustrated 12 of you must feel.”

But he said that with a waiting list of more than 100, Ferndown residents must take priority legally. “Ultimately, we spend Ferndown tax-payer’s money on a Ferndown site for Ferndown people, and I make no apology for that,” he said.

The council has spent £72,000 so far on the site, and £10,000 of next year’s budget has been ring-fenced for improvements.