VOLUNTEERS looking to plant fruit on a Winchester green patch were forced to cancel after residents claimed they were starting an unauthorised allotment.

The Greening Fulflood group was branded “totalitarian” by one man in Poets Estate after trying to put in communal peach and plum hedges without consulting neighbours.

Ernest Jones, of Byron Avenue, said the hedges could destabilise garden walls and lead to rat and wasp infestations.

He claimed Winchester City Council did not give permission, adding: “Why have we not been consulted? Who are these people?

“They are unaccountable. They are not qualified. They are not representative. They are trying to set up an unofficial allotment.

“It all seemed most irregular and totalitarian.”

The council, which has confirmed its support, will now find Greening Fulflood new land for planting.

Organiser Eleanor Waterhouse, of Elm Road, said three or four objectors had overshadowed local enthusiasm after leaflets were posted advertising the event.

She said: “After Silver Hill and problems with non-consultation, that people said they weren’t consulted, I’m sure the council is feeling rather raw and very keen to be seen to be consulting – but we’re not changing anything.

“The people who complained didn’t really understand what we were doing and were not really interested in finding out, to be honest.

“I’ve found this very disturbing.”