Sunday, 13 June 2021

Upset over unlawful pumpkin polytunnel

THE rules for hiring an allotment in Watlington are to be rewritten after a woman erected a large polytunnel without planning permission.

Resident Nicola Schafer built the structure on her plot at the council allotments off Love Lane to grow a giant pumpkin. It was 15m long, 7m wide and 3m high.

She was given permission by George Bruce, chairman of the allotments association, and thought that was sufficient.

But other plot holders objected and one complained to South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, and another to the town’s district councillor Anna Badcock.

A planning enforcement officer from the council visited the site and stated that the polytunnel was an act of development and would need planning permission.

Mrs Schafer said she didn’t know she needed planning permission as the erection of any structure did not feature in the parish council’s agreement which allotment holders have to sign.

She has since reduced the size of the polytunnel but still has to apply for planning permission.

The parish council held a special full council where members decided that the allotment holders’ agreement would need to be reworded so it was clear on the issue.

Parish councillor Nicky Smallbone said that “not surprisingly” an application for another polytunnel had been received.

She added: “I’ve been in contact with the guy who wants to do it and told him he can wait until we have updated the rules and he was fine with that.”

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