A FORMER Bradford on Avon hotelier has launched a “I lost the plot” campaign after being turfed off his allotment on Bradford on Avon’s upmarket Kingston Farm housing development.

Tim Burnham, 72, who used to own the Old Manor Hotel at Trowle Common, is now considering court action against the Kingston Farm Allotments Association committee after he was told to leave.

He said: “It’s just pure snobbishness. Most of the people here are middle class, while I’m a Cockney from London and not afraid to say what I think. Most of the other allotments look like something out of the Chelsea Flower Show.”

He says its secretary Bill Kerns suggested he move to a council-run plot which would be “more suitable” for his style of gardening” after giving him one month’s notice to quit his 15ft by 30ft allotment on which he had worked since July 2019.

Mr Burnham, aged 72, of Uncles Lane, said: “I’ve produced a banner to hang on my balcony. It says ‘I lost the plot. Can I have my allotment back’. I’m also considering suing them in the small claims court for specific performance of the contract.

“When I moved into my flat on the new Kingston Farm Estate, one of the benefits was the allotments being provided by Sean Moulton for the benefit of residents.

“CG Fry & Son, the builders, were very helpful in giving me the details. It was a real selling point as allotments are like gold dust.

“When I took on the allotment I put three wheelbarrows on the plot in order to make one good one from the parts, a barbecue, some paving stones for a terrace, parts to make a veranda on my small shed (having told the committee what I was doing) and old tyres for rhubarb forcing.

“I then received a letter telling me to remove the items. There was no discussion or polite request. None of these issues were proscribed in the contract I had signed.

“They eventually told me that it was Sean Moulton’s land agent who was the difficult one but I spoke to him and he seemed not to be concerned.

“I did remove them and requested permission to put a full-sized shed on my plot rather than a small one with veranda. This was approved by the committee and I did not restore my small shed as I was waiting to replace it. Not the easiest thing to do in lockdown.

“They asked me to remove the small shed, then replace it with the bigger one by August 2020. I was not told that I would be thrown off if I did not do this by August.

“I did not manage to do this by August and the old unrestored shed was still on the plot. I asked the committee to help in this matter as another allotment holder was leaving and I wanted to buy his shed.

“I was then accused of abandoning my allotment (this was untrue, I was harvesting vegetables until the day I left), not replacing the old shed in time or restoring it and given one month’s notice to quit which I have now done.

“Their rules specifically state that they would talk to anyone and try to resolve any issues before taking further action. They failed to do this and simply ordered me to leave which I duly did.

“I was told that I had to tidy the allotment and clear it, even though it was covered in weeds when I took over. I had to uproot stuff that was still growing, such as artichokes, cavallo Nero, wallflowers, herbs and rhubarb.“I was so cross, especially when the secretary came up to me and suggested moving to a council run plot which would “be more suitable for my style of gardening.”

“Unfortunately, I lost my temper with him. I did a fair bit of gratuitous swearing. I did apologise, straightaway.

“I was given no right of appeal.They said the issue is dealt with and would not discuss the matter further.

“I have since written and asked politely to put me on the waiting list or inform me if I have a life ban. Their answer is that in October 2020 they informed me the matter is closed.”

Mr Burnham added: “The irony is that there are spare plots. Several allotmenteers who are friends of the committee members have two plots. You couldn’t make it up.

“Another lady who is leaving was told to completely dig her plot over before leaving after planting it for the season or she won’t get her deposit back. All that work and money wasted. I offered to take over that plot as it stands. You can guess their response.”A Kingston Farm Allotments committee spokesman said: "We were disappointed when we had to request Tim to relinquish his allotment after rules were ignored and other issues arose. KFAA do not feel that it is appropriate to comment about the issue."