Man who built sauna on allotment says it is now just a shed

The Valpy Avenue allotment sauna before it was converted. Pictured inset is city councillor Vaughan Thomas

The Valpy Avenue allotment sauna before it was converted. Pictured inset is city councillor Vaughan Thomas - Credit: Archant

An allotment holder is insisting the sauna he built on his plot is now being used as a shed.

Neighbouring allotment holders were baffled to see a wooden sauna constructed in the Valpy Avenue allotments in Mile Cross last autumn. 

The sauna came complete with a wood burning stove and cushions for the benches - with half a dozen men spotted wandering in and out of an evening.

Bemused gardeners tending to their fruit and veg nearby questioned if the facility - complete with chimney - was allowed.

A sauna has been constructed in the Valpy Avenue allotments

The allotment sauna pictured in November 2021 - Credit: Ben Hardy

Now the sauna owner, who did not wish to be named, has said the city council told him to remove the chimney and no longer let off steam with friends and family in the allotment.

The 36-year-old man - who has two young daughters - said: "It is now just a shed.

"We are planting strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and garlic instead. 

Allotment patches growing veg next to the converted sauna in Valpy Avenue 

Allotment patches growing veg next to the converted sauna in Valpy Avenue - Credit: Ben Hardy

"We are not using the sauna anymore.

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"The council told me to get rid of the chimney and that I can't do that as it was not in the allotment rules." 

A new fence erected on the allotment sauna plot

A new fence erected on the allotment sauna plot - Credit: Contributed

The owner - who has been on the allotment for around four years - disputed claims from neighbours that the sauna was being used for parties during the night.

He would not allow the Evening News to see inside the shed.

City councillor Vaughan Thomas (Lab), who represents Mile Cross, said: "I have never seen a specific rule or regulation relating to saunas. 

"I would have thought it would not be allowed but I have no involvement in this particular case." 

Norwich city councillor Vaughan Thomas. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich city councillor Vaughan Thomas. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Construction of sheds and greenhouses is permitted on Norwich allotments to a maximum of 2.5 metres in length and 1.8 width.

A nearby allotment holder, who did not wish to be identified, was bemused to see a fence being erected at the plot this week following the removal of the chimney.

He added: "It still looks like the same sauna, just with the chimney taken down to disguise it.

"He has then started putting up this fence which seems unusual."

The Valpy Avenue allotments in Mile Cross

The Valpy Avenue allotments in Mile Cross - Credit: Ben Hardy

A city council spokeswoman said: "The council is aware of the situation with regards to claims of a sauna being used on the allotment at Valpy Avenue, but are unable to give any specific information about investigations as it’s a matter between the council and the allotment tenants.

"The council conducted allotment inspections in November 2021 and on April 14, 2022.

"A further inspection will be carried out in regards to the newly erected fence at the site.

"Any formal notices would be given to allotment tenants in breach of allotment rules based on their tenancy agreement.

"All allotment tenants are reminded to make any formal reports of allotment rule breaches, including nuisance behaviour, directly to the council, so it can investigate accordingly."