Allotments association rocked by bullying and assault allegations
PUBLISHED: 08:18 13 December 2019 | UPDATED: 08:18 13 December 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
A 12-year-old girl was threatened and a child was dragged off a bicycle amid alleged bullying and conflict at an allotments association, a meeting has heard.
Rival members of the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Allotments Association (GYGAA) aired their grievances at a borough council area committee meeting on Tuesday, December 10.
Councillors heard that members of the association had attended a previous meeting of the area committee and made complaints about the association's management group and highlighted alleged bullying.
The area committee then wrote to GYGAA expressing concern and asking members to attend the group's annual meeting.
Tuesday's meeting also heard that the management group's chairman, Donna Miller, replied to the borough council, saying that, if it did not apologise for its letter, "regrettably, we may have no option but to proceed with formal complaints".
Councillors then heard from members of the management group, who spoke at the meeting to hit back at the bullying allegations - and described a number of alleged incidents.
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Scott Laing, a member of the management group, said threats and assaults had taken place at the allotments.
"My 12-year-old daughter was verbally abused and threatened on the site," he said. "We've found this through the whole association. We're not taking it anymore. We've also got the trouble-makers on the site that are making it harder for children. We've got one who dragged a child off a bike."
David Cardle, another management group member, said: "One lady was actually threatened with the words: 'I could have you removed for £500'."
But Arthur Boles, 53 years an allotment holder, said: "I've been told I'm to blame for the trouble. I was a secretary for 16 years. I've got all the minutes and never did I ever cause any problems on the committee."
Alfred Colman, an allotment holder for 75 years, said: "I've been down there since I was 10 years old. The last two years we should have been picking our own secretary as in the constitution."
Tony Wright, Labour councillor for Nelson ward, said: "What really concerns me is the matters that have been reported this evening. These are for the police."
But Mr Laing said without CCTV at the site the police could not investigate without evidence.
Councillors agreed to attend a management meeting next year.