By Hannah Furness | The Telegraph
A gardener who planted fruit trees in his allotment instead of vegetables is facing eviction from his plot, because his efforts broke regulations on “productivity”.
Michael Rock, 60, argued that by growing 11 pear, plum, apple, cherry and apricot trees he was putting his plot to good use, but council rules brought in this year say that three quarters of the land must be used for “productive crops” such as vegetables.
Mr Rock, an author who lives in a tower block flat in Hastings, East Sussex, said he had originally planted potatoes, leeks and onions, but produced so much it was going to waste.
He decided to turn the land over to fruit trees instead, intending to make jam for his pensioner neighbours.
When presented with the new rules Mr Rock refused to agree to them, and took Hastings borough council to court when it threatened to evict him. He lost his case, but has said he will continue his fight and will go to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary.
At a hearing in Hastings County Court, Mr Rock told a district judge that the contract he signed in October 2007 “contained no detail on the definition of cultivation and what could not be grown on the allotment”.
In April the council changed the regulations to state that “the soil underneath trees must be planted with productive crops or other plants”, saying it was necessary to stop “a minority” of its 600 plot holders “neglecting” their land.