Allotment holders are up in arms after it was revealed that their patches could be sold to make way for housing.

The group, some of whom have worked on the plots in Burgess Hill for 30 years, are upset after it was revealed that the land is set to be developed as part of the council’s District Plan.

Determined not to lose the allotments, which have been used for nearly six decades, the group now say they are fighting to save the patches.

Fred Leggett, who lives next to the Chanctonbury Road allotments, said: “It would be such a travesty to lose the allotments. It would be detrimental to a lot of old people’s lives.

“It’s a social life and a lot of families have plots here. It’s a safe space for children to play here and learn here.

The Argus: Chanctonbury Road allotmentsChanctonbury Road allotments (Image: Sue Hewer)

“If you lose this you would lose all the natural beauty. It would have a massive impact.”

The 63 patches at the allotments next to Burgess Hill train station are part-owned by Mid-Sussex District Council and Network Rail.

The site was identified by the council as a suitable place for a housing development, but allotment owners argue that the loss of the site would significantly harm the area.

The loss of the Chanctonbury Road allotments would see nearly a quarter of the patches in Burgess Hill wiped out.

While the district council has committed to providing an alternative space for allotment holders, the group argue that this does not consider the years of hard work they have put into their patches.

Councillor Robert Eggleston, Leader of Burgess Hill Town Council, who are opposing the plans, said: “It’s remarkable. A lot of people have invested their lives into this place.

“When we found out about the plans it was quite out of the blue. Losing this would have a significant impact on people.”

In a letter to residents, Burgess Hill Town Council said that they would be seeking to register the site as an Asset of Community Interest. This status would mean that should Network Rail try to sell the land the council would be given the first opportunity to bid on the land.

The Argus: A birds eye view of the allotmentsA birds eye view of the allotments (Image: Google maps)

Mid-Sussex District Councillor Robert Salisbury, member for planning, said: “We don’t want to lose any allotment space but the ones on Chanctonbury Road hold the key to unlocking these much-needed improvements at Burgess Hill railway station by making any future revitalisation much more viable and helping ensure a key brownfield site in the town centre is freed up to deliver benefits for the wider community.

“We appreciate this is a difficult situation for existing allotment holders who value their plots highly, but the status quo does not protect the allotments. No development will be allowed to take place unless a suitable location for new allotments can be found within the town and any relocation of the allotments would be done in consultation with allotment holders to minimise disruption.”

Allotment holders have also created a petition urging the District Council to reconsider plans for the development.