COMMUNITY allotments are set to be sold despite residents’ opposition.

The Diocese of Winchester, which owns allotments in King’s Somborne, has confirmed they will be placed on the market.

This comes after residents and civic chiefs in the village launched a petition last year in a bid to save the site, which is more than 100 years old and has been listed as a community asset.

The diocese stressed that alternative allotment space will be provided.

But residents said they did not think there were other suitable sites in the area.

Lisa Johnson, of the King’s Somborne Allotments Association, said: “Unfortunately our hands are tied. We are all really upset, they are very well used. The diocese made the decision. We have tried to change their mind. I wish there was something we could do.”

Sue Holligan, licensed minister at St Peter and St Paul’s Church in King’s Somborne said she fears this will have an impact on the congregation and said the Diocese should have put the community first.

“In my mind to be a member of the church is to value people while here it only seems to be valuing money. The diocese is asset stripping this community by selling the allotments” she added.

Tony Ward, councillor for King’s Somborne ward and community and leisure portfolio holder, said if they allotments are sold, alternative allotment site must be provided.

“Test Valley Borough Council policy is very clear. They can’t build on allotments unless they provide an alternative site”, he said.

He added: “ I have asked the allotment users to write down what they think is an equivalent or better site.Until somebody comes forward and says this is what we are proposing, there’s nothing we can do.”

Romsey MP Caroline Nokes has also urged the Diocese to specify where they propose to relocate the allotments and “do so as a matter of urgency”.

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Winchester said: “Allotments play an important role at the heart of our local communities. It is exactly for this reason that the Diocese of Winchester provides and supports the allotments at Kings Somborne, and this is why we will explicitly require as a pre-condition of sale that any developer of the site provides suitable alternative allotment space. The cost of providing these new allotments will be met by the Diocese. The Diocese of Winchester supports over 250 parishes across Hampshire and beyond and they are reliant on much-needed financial help. As a charity we are required to make best use of our assets in order to ensure that we can continue to support all our areas of engagement in the local and wider community. “