A NEW community plot has been officially opened at the King's Somborne allotment site.

Frank Fahy, who used to tend plot himself, cut the ribbon in front of his fellow socially-distanced gardeners.

Since Mr Fahy's retirement the patch of land has been transformed into an area for everyone to enjoy.

It includes paths, a fruit cage, polytunnel, spinach bed, flower beds, areas planted with leeks, tomatoes, butternut squash, pumpkins, a runner bean wigwam, bug hotel and a bamboo construction to support the growing sunflowers.

There is also an underground bees nest, small pond and a miniature wishing well.

Having welcomed the guests, Mr Fahy gave a short speech about his near 20 years' gardening on the plot, thanking everyone and then proceeded to cut the ribbon.

This was followed by a toast of elderflower champagne made from blossom collected from the elder trees on the allotment boundary.

The allotments have been in existence for about a hundred years, on land left for the benefit of the residents of King's Somborne.

They are now under immediate threat of disappearing completely, to be replaced with an estate of executive houses.

A spokesperson said: "The Diocese of Winchester which now controls the land has totally ignored the wishes of the village and agreed to sell the allotments to a Winchester based developer. A planning application has been submitted and is under consideration.

"One of the conditions which must be satisfied before planning permission can be granted is the provision of an alternative site which must be at least as good as, if not better than the existing site.

"What has been offered is a site much further up the hill which is exposed, covered in flints, has been chemically treated for years, is inaccessible to allotmenteers unless by road, and is dangerously close to the brow of the hill, therefore unsuitable in just about every respect. In these strange times, working the allotments has been a godsend to many and it would be an unmitigated disaster if they are lost forever, for the sake of profit. "Notwithstanding the cost to those who tend the allotments (physical, mental, social) there is also the very very bleak future for the huge and diverse variety of wildlife, which live, thrive and rely on the abundant food supply which the allotmenteers are happy to share."

Those interested in further information should contact Susan on 07799 660758.