Mixed feelings for allotment holders

Upset Milner Royd Allotment holders, Ernie Holden and Judith Kahn, after council admitted to knowing about the land contamination over five years ago.'Mearclough, Sowerby Bridge
Upset Milner Royd Allotment holders, Ernie Holden and Judith Kahn, after council admitted to knowing about the land contamination over five years ago.'Mearclough, Sowerby Bridge
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PLOT holders at the poisoned allotment site say they still have questions after their first meeting with council officers.

Allotment holders from Milner Royd in Sowerby Bridge were told not to eat their produce in May.

Their concerns were heard at a meeting of the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel on Wednesday.

Treasurer David Longworth said there were mixed reactions from allotment holders after the meeting.

He said while the group were happy further testing has been ordered and contingency plans were being discussed, many of their questions remain unanswered.

He said failure to disclose the 2005 report was a big issue, which remained undiscussed.

“For five years that report has sat there saying our site is likely to be contaminated.

“Even there at the meeting, people were refusing to take that report seriously.”

They were also unhappy that the reasoning given by officers for not acting on the 2005 report was that it would have created unnecessary panic.

“We do not accept that was a reasonable judgement to make,” he said.

Mr Longworth said allotment holders were dissatisfied questions had been raised about the quality of initial testing, and that further tests on vegetables had been ordered.

He sat alongside Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Federation chairman, Rod Mellor.

Mr Mellor says he has a sworn statement that the owners of Sowerby Bridge factories dumped waste, including arsenic and lead onto the neighbouring landfill site, which he thinks is now seeping through into the allotments.

“I think this is a slow leakage seeping from the tip,” he said.

Mr Longworth added: “The degree of anger is such that a significant number of the allotment holders are thinking about ligitagation”

The scrutiny committee met on Tuesday.