"thank you for your response. I can confirm that no email was received re giving up plot 18A and I wonder which address it was sent to. Our newsletters have, for some time, given my newest email address also the latest one (March 2007) which you should have received give details of increases in rents, ie £30 (full) and £18 (half).
Members of the Allotments committee brought the matter of unworked plots to the town council's attention and that was why I was requested to write to you and others involved. No mention was made of plot 15b being worked when a visit to the allotment was made very recently. However, I will bring your comments to members' attention later today and will get back to you"
I didn't have a chance to check my email for a couple of days, for one reason or another. However, Saturday I had a clandestine phonecall from someone advising me to pay my rent by that evening (31st) as there were underhand dealings going on in the council. I told the caller about the emails and it was suggested that I pay the rent anyway, which I did.
I got back from delivering the rent and checked my email. And found this:
"As promised I have had a word with the Council Chairman and Allotment Chairman and it is confirmed that the decision taken by the council, as previously indicated, should stand, ie that the agreements are terminated. Last year we wrote to you along similar lines as the plots were not being worked and other residents complain when no action is taken.
I have been requested to ask if you wish your name to go back on the waiting list - if so perhaps you could pleases advise and I will add your name accordingly."
I was gutted. But I'd paid my rent, and on perusing my contract which the council had made all plot holders sign back in May, I found they should have given me 30 days notice in writing. Three days via email does not count.
Sunday morning found me, DH and all the offspring up at the allotment, and we dug over another big patch, planted onion sets and DD1 sowed turnips and mange tout whilst I put in carrots, beetroot and parsnips and some swiss chard plants given to me by a lovely friend.
The plot holders two plots up from me, though, informed us that someone had been eyeing up my plot wiht a letter from the council that said my plot was now theirs.
We got home from the lottie about 2pm and there was the following missive in my inbox:
"I have just had a phone call from the Chairman advising that Mr x had received your cheque through his letter box last night for allotment rent.
You will have received my latest email the other day when I referred to the decision by the town council that the tenancy could not be renewed at from today 1 April.
Therefore, please be advised that the cheque will be returned to you as soon as possible."
I dissolved into t
ears, DH threw a paddy over his 'wasted' morning and stomped off yelling at the kids in irritation.
Then, I decided that sitting feeling sorry for myself was not an option any more. Normally I don't say boo to a goose but this was my lottie we were talking about. I loaded the littlest one into his car seat and took off back down to the allotments. I spoke to a couple of people and managed to get the address of a couple of council bods out of one of the lovely old boys who inhabit the place.
First council bod wasn't at home. Second council bod just happened to be the Chairman of both the Council and the Allotment Committee. And I didn't realise until the door opened that I knew his wife from the school playground and his daughter was in the year above my eldest. :)
I explained the situation, managing to hold it together until I said 'and I'm a bit upset about all this'. Cue tears. Mr Chairman looked somewhat discomfited and said he'd make a few phonecalls and see what he could do, he wasn't promising anything but he had my cheque and if I didn't get it back then everything would be ok.
Tea time on Sunday, the clerk of the council phones and informs me that my plot is no longer allocated to this other person and is still mine. The other plot which I wrote to the council last year about giving up has been allocated to the other person. Breathe huge sigh of relief and chalk one up for persistance, determination and the courage of one's convictions.