Allotment holder claims council has 'personal vendetta' against him

Allotment owners in Dereham are fighting to save their chickens and cockerels after the town council

John Buck (left) and Tony Hunt (right) vowed in January to do all they could to protect the cockerels they were keeping on their allotments. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

An angry allotment holder has said he has been unfairly treated by the council which manages the local allotments, claiming that the authority has “a personal vendetta” against him. 

In January Tony Hunt expressed his fury over Dereham Town Council’s rules about cockerels on allotments.

Tony Hunt at Dereham Town Council

Allotment holder Tony Hunt addresses the meeting of Dereham Town Council on Tuesday evening - Credit: Noah Vickers

On Tuesday, at the council’s first in-person meeting since the pandemic began, Mr Hunt told councillors he had been “singled out” on a host of other allotment issues.

Firstly, Mr Hunt alleged he was “the only one to get a letter saying that I haven’t had permission to put a shed up. None of the other allotment holders have been sought out and sent a letter.”

Secondly, he claimed he had lost possession of a “bank” at the rear of his plot, which he said had been given to his neighbouring plot-holders. 

He appeared to claim that he had been unfairly treated on several further allotment issues.

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“I want to see what’s fair - not only for me, but for other plot-holders, because all plot-holders are not treated the same,” he said.

“Evidently, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and who you’re friends with,” he added. 

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Admitting a mistake on the cockerel issue, Mr Hunt said: “I know that I was wrong with them cockerels. Fair enough. I hold my hands up to that.”

John Buck at Dereham Town Council

Friend and fellow allotment holder John Buck (seated, left) asked whether he and Mr Hunt (standing, right) could keep their cockerels on the allotments until the animals die, rather than remove them in October as ordered by the council. - Credit: Noah Vickers

Moments later however, a friend of Mr Hunt, John Buck, said: “We’re just asking, can we keep them [the cockerels] till they die? That’s all we’re asking.”

Mr Hunt claimed he had sought the legal opinions of two solicitors. In Mr Hunt’s words, they both agreed he had been “singled out for harassment and a personal vendetta against me.” 

Mr Hunt has lodged with the town council an official complaint about his alleged unfair treatment by them, and has received a response to it, but has sought clarity on some of its content.

Mayor Stuart Green assured Mr Hunt that he would clarify any outstanding uncertainties, and town clerk Tony Needham said after the meeting there was nothing to add on the matter.

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