IRVINE residents have voiced their fury about a housing association’s plans to build new allotments.

ANCHO have started work to build new raised bed allotments in the community garden in Hunter Drive.

The company were granted £10,000 by the Big Lottery to fund allotment projects and started work to construct a new six-foot fence last week.

But this has not sat well with a number of residents in the block of flats in the street. Hunter Drive resident Lisa Torley presented a petition to ANCHO objecting to the plans.

She said the residents were not consulted about the new development and says the allotments are too close to their back garden.

Speaking to the Times this week, Lisa said: “ANCHO initially wrote about plans for allotments in their newsletter but didn’t say where. All of a sudden at the Castlepark and Eglinton AGM it was revealed they would be in Hunter Drive.

“I spoke to Elaine Gibson at ANCHO and she said it would be a good thing and the people who use the park weren’t cleaning it up. Out of 22 people in the flat block I got 18 to respond to the petition which I handed in to ANCHO.

“They sent me a letter back saying they would take it down to 10 allotments.” Lisa added: “But now there’s this six foot fence outside our kitchen window.

“We weren’t notified about this and she said she didn’t have to because the planning permission was passed.

“They’re going to rent them out for £50 a year and they’re not even for people in the local area, anyone can use them.

“So now we’re going to have to see these strangers outside our back door. The fence has only been up a few days and it’s already like a new toy for the kids, they’ve been climbing all over it. We’re very unhappy about this and we haven’t been properly consulted.” But ANCHO Director Elaine Gibson has dismissed Lisa’s claims. She claims the company did consult with residents but did not receive much of a response.

Elaine said: “We set up a community garden in the area in 2010.

“The idea behind that was to get the community to adopt the garden and look after it. Any maintenance would be generally done on a volunteer basis by residents. It was an agreement as such but the intention was that over time people would take interest in the garden.

“So we consulted the residents in the Hunter Drive maisonettes about the future of the garden.

“Of the people we spoke to, just about all of them weren’t concerned as long as they didn’t have to do anything.” The ANCHO boss added: “In our Christmas newsletter we asked people to take an interest but nothing happened. So we had a think and because we already have a plot at the Eglinton Growers site we would build one in the community gardens.

“It’s a growing trend and a lot of people are growing their own fresh produce especially in times of food poverty. Basically people will pay a pound a week so they demonstrate a commitment.

“The fence will make the area more secure andwe’ll still be keeping the play area.

“There won’t be any problems with car parking because the spaces are sufficient and the residents park in the street.

“Basically we consulted people and they were ambivalent to the idea and it’s only when the work is on site that they complain.”