THE future of 75 historic allotment plots in Rothwell looks bubbly after their private owner put pen to paper on a lease with Leeds City Council.
The deal comes an uncertain six months after the future of the 104-year-old Victoria Allotment plots, in Victoria Road, Rothwell, appeared to have been secured in principle.
Under the agreement between the council and Mike Barrett, from Addplant Ltd, the 3.7 acre site should remain as allotments for at least 10 years.
Last year the council failed in its bid to buy both the Victoria plots and the 99-year-old Reservoir Allotments, in Wood Lane, after their private owner ended its lengthy lease with the council and sold them off.
Victoria plot holder and campaigner Angela Scotcher said: “There was uncertainty because deals end all the time and nobody’s been sure as to what has been happening – it’s no good until it’s signed.”
Campaigners had collected around 2,000 signatures on petitions for the council to keep both sites as allotments.
Coun Karen Bruce (Lab, Rothwell) said: “We have all done everything in our power to protect the allotments.”
Coun David Nagle (Lab, Rothwell) added: “All the persistence and hard work of the allotment holders has paid off.”
Landowner Mike Barrett said: “I think it has been sorted for the benefit of all parties.”
The agreement runs for five years and could then be renewed for another five years.
Coun Mark Dobson, lead member for environmental services, said the lease was “for the benefit of allotment holders and the Rothwell community”.
But 12 plot holders at the Reservoir site are facing eviction on February 2 next year.
Coun Stewart Golton (Lib Dem, Rothwell) said: “It’s a bitter sweet moment because this is the best Christmas present that the Victoria allotment holders could get but we’re all aware of their colleagues just a few hundred yards away.”
Reservoir plot holders have been offered first refusal on plots in Leadwell Lane, Rothwell, which will open in March.
The site was criticised by gardeners as difficult to access earlier this year.