Angry bees and gardeners with guns: complaints about Norwich’s allotments revealed

Keeping an allotment has become increasingly popular, but new documents have revealed a catalogue of complaints which show some holders in Norwich have lost the plot.

Complaints made to Norwich City Council by allotment holders about other allotment holders show all is not always rosy on the city's 18 sites.

One of the strangest complaints in the city council's log, obtained using the Freedom Of Information Act, came in June this year on the Woodlands allotment off Dereham Road.

The complaint was that 'allotment holder is attracting problem drinkers. Also has guns, shoots wildlife for cooking.'

While the document does not reveal what action, if any, was taken to resolve to complaint, other issues which council officers have tackled include angry bees, noisy strimmers and cars being stored on plots.

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Other perennial problems include bonfires, gates being left open, encroaching trees, sheds being built in the wrong place and out-of-control children.

In some cases personality clashes and rows have led to plot holders being evicted or agreeing to stay out of each other's way.

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An example comes from the Bluebell North allotment, in The Avenues. In May last year a complaint was made about 'relationship difficulties' with a neighbouring plot holder. According to the complaint log 'the neighbour has agreed to stay out of complainant's way and enter into no further communication.'

And in the same allotment in October last year, there was an 'abusive argument' from a plot holder whose new neighbours were using a strimmer. That led to the new neighbours being moved to a different plot.

Again, on Bluebell North, came a complaint from June this year about 'angry bees on a neighbouring plot'. But this story had a happier ending. The complaints log reveals that council officers contacted the beekeeper to ensure there was sufficient screening and water for the bees. The beekeeper also moved some of the insects off the site and 'the situation was resolved'

The Freedom Of Information request also reveals that, between January 2009 to July 2011, there have been 547 evictions from the city's allotments.

What do you think of the city's allotments? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email

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