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Allotment owner faces eviction for lack of vegetables

May 1, 2013 at 1:47 PM   |   Comments

HASTINGS, England, May 1 (UPI) -- A British court upheld an eviction order for an allotment owner who decided to stop growing vegetables in favor of planting fruit trees.

Michael Rock, 61, said his 298-square-yard property at Bembrook Allotments in Hastings, England, was yielding more vegetables than he could use or give away, so in 2008 he decided to stop growing vegetables and instead plant fruit trees on the property, The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.

Hastings Borough Council served Rock with a notice saying he was not "cultivating the land properly" and would be evicted if he did not start growing vegetables.

The council adopted rules last year requiring the owners of the 600 plots to use 75 percent for "productive crops" to be cultivated within two years. The rules were adopted to prevent owners from neglecting their allotments while there is a waiting list for the properties.

Hastings County Court District Judge Geoffrey Smith sided with the council, saying Rock must pay $1,168 in costs and vacate the allotment within two months unless he meets the council's requirements.

"I find as a fact that the cultivation of 13 fruit trees on that area of land with only grass in between them, is not something which meets the stipulation of 75 percent cultivation within two years," Smith said.

Rock said he plans to appeal.

"I will take it to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary," he said. "I hope in the end to win the case and for the council to be more understanding of the way people live their lives."

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