Allotment body distances itself amid controversy at Dundee association

© DC ThomsonDon Elder.
Don Elder.

A national allotments body has distanced itself from a scandal-hit Dundee association – amid claims its name is being used to falsely endorse the local group’s actions.

The Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society (SAGS) said it has learned its name is being used by members of the West Law Allotments Association (WLAA) in justifying their practices.

Members of the WLAA are reported to have told tenants that they have acted under advice from SAGS – a claim the national body strongly denies.

WLAA has been accused of bullying and acting outwith its own rules after evicting at least two allotment members – 75-year-old Don Elder and 44-year-old Ashley Donaldson – without appearing to following proper procedure.

The WLAA’s vice-chairman Mike Dolan was given a warning by police after he told Ms Donaldson: “I’ll be speaking to you later.”

The Tele understands a third tenant has since been evicted without due procedure being followed.

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Ian Welsh, president of SAGS, has twice urged Dundee City Council to take action after members were forced off their plots.

The local authority continues to insist it has “no locus” in the drama, despite being the WLAA’s landlord and the sole arbitrary body with the power to step in.

Gardeners with grievances could previously turn to the Dundee Federation of Allotment and Garden Holders.

But its chairwoman Jan Williamson dissolved the body and joined the WLAA committee some years ago.

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A statement from SAGS said: “SAGS believes that Dundee City Council as the landowner of WLAA has the authority and the responsibility to intervene in the developing situation at WLAA.

“This issue has moved beyond a single dispute between the committee and one plot holder.

“We call on the council to halt all actions of the committee at West Law Allotments, including evictions, and engage in a full and thorough investigation of the running of WLAA as currently managed.

“SAGS wishes to make clear that, contrary to reports, we have not advised WLAA on its actions.”

A council spokesman said: “We have been in direct contact with SAGS but the council has no direct involvement in this situation.”

WLAA has been asked to comment but had not responded at the time of going to press.