Which actions merit eviction?
The Hastings Borough Council Code of Conduct 17 (a) states, “The Council has a responsibility to ensure that all its resources are used in the service of the public and local community…”
In October 2013, the council admitted to the Observer that it had spent £3,000 in a failed attempt to evict an allotment holder, Mr Michael Rock, for growing fruit trees. This story was well covered by the Observer.
In a blatant attempt to circumvent the court ruling, which allows Mr Rock to stay and grow his trees, (which he has done peacefully without complaint), the council have created a new contract, which disallows the actions which the court allowed, and they are now threatening to evict Mr Rock again, if he does not agree to these new terms, which deny him all the rights he was awarded. This would put him in breech of (the new) contract, so either way, he faces eviction.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Apart from not agreeing to sign the new contract for obvious reasons, what has Mr Rock done which merits his eviction?
A Notice to Quit has already been served. Question is, is this continued council action really “in the service of the public and local community”, or is this, as many suspect, a bureaucratic vendetta being sponsored by public funds?
Also, if the council can change a contract to suit them, then what is their agreement worth in the first place?
Council spokesman Kevin Boorman said: “In 2011 Hastings Borough Council consulted on a new tenancy agreement for all allotment holders. Allotment law requires us to give 12 months’ notice to all tenants prior to a new agreement being issued.
“The council’s cabinet approved the new agreement in March 2012. All plot holders had 12 months to sign the new agreement.
“The new agreement came into effect in April 2013. We have nearly 600 plot holders, and all signed the new agreement except Mr Rock.
“The council has given Mr Rock every opportunity to sign a new agreement, but he has consistently refused to sign it. He is the only plot holder in the town who does not have a current legal tenancy agreement.
“Hastings Borough Council values allotments as a community asset but we do need to ensure all allotment holders are working to the same agreement.”
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