Dundee City Council could pull the plug on a troubled allotment’s committee if pressured, the Tele has learned.
West Law Allotments is in the midst of a civil war over the forced removal of stalwart Don Elder for, it is claimed, asking “awkward questions” about its governance.
Mr Elder has barricaded himself inside his plot for a second time as he continues his battle to keep it.
Under existing laws, councils effectively hand over an allotment when they lease them out, and have no involvement.
But environment bosses say they could end a lease if there are “concerns” about the way they are run. A council officer’s opinion, seen by the Tele, said: “It is for the association and Mr Elder as a member of that association to seek their own legal advice and deal with what is a private law matter. Dundee City Council has no locus.
“(But) the council does of course have an interest in the successful operation of allotment sites and may wish to review the lease of this site if (anyone has) concerns about how it is being managed.”
Mr Elder, who has been at West Law for nearly 20 years, locked himself in on Monday and intends to stay for the foreseeable future.
He claims committee members have attempted to intimidate him.
Mr Elder said: “They were banging on the shed at about half six and came back at about 6.55pm. They were shouting, ‘are you going to come out?’ but I never let on. If they want to speak to me they’ll have to speak with my solicitor – who they aren’t replying to.
“It looks like they’re thinking if they keep schtum it will just go away. But it won’t.”
Mr Elder has sought the help of Dundee MSP Joe FitzPatrick after he was banned from meetings and his appeal against the ban was carried out without his involvement.
While Mr FitzPatrick has been unable to directly intervene, the Tele understands, he has been advised that the council is set to embrace new legislation that will require it to take a greater interest in the running of allotments.
The Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society (SAGS) has written to the council seeking action. It did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
A spokesman for Dundee City Council said: “SAGS have written to the council and we are replying directly to them. While the council has no direct involvement in this situation we have discussed elements of the Community Empowerment Act.”
The West Law Allotments committee has just doubled its term in office, and has refused to answer multiple questions about Mr Elder’s forced eviction.