ALLOTMENT holders are angry about plans to evict them from their plots so the council can expand its graveyard.

Upton Town Council has given the growers until March 31 to leave the allotments behind the cemetery in Rectory Road.

Nick West, aged 75, who took up an allotment around 10 years ago, said: "We are hoping to be able to stay where we are.

"It doesn't make much sense for a council to convert our allotments into a cemetery.

"They have got some idea that they are going to be facing a huge demand for grave space. They are nowhere near full.

"I'm frustrated that they have offered this other land at the top of Tunnel Hill.

"People say it's quite unsuitable, with heavy clay soil. Furthermore it's far away."

Mr West, who used to own a picture framing shop in Upton, rejected the council's argument that it needs to create more room for hearses.

He said there is plenty of space for the vehicles to turn around in the graveyard.

The resident added that the council rejected a proposal to create a cemetery on the land at the top of Tunnel Hill.

He thinks this would make more sense as the council would not have to spend money on preparing the site for allotments.

Mr West, of Longfield, Upton, said: "I won't go up to the top of Tunnel Hill, I'll give up. I can walk from home at the moment."

A spokesman for Upton Town Council said: "The town council has sadly been required to give the allotment holders notice to quit their plots in order to create new burial ground.

"There are a few rows left at the bottom of the cemetery although some of these plots have been sold so are unavailable.

"The hearse can’t now turn round on the remaining land so the allotment land is also needed for this.

"It’s estimated that the additional land will provide in excess of 50 years of burial ground. The council is bounded by the Local Authorities’ Cemetery Order which says that buried remains cannot be disturbed – the rules are subtly different in churchyards.

"The allotment holders have been aware for some time of the town council’s intentions and it is anticipated that an alternative site will be available before they are required to give up their current plots."

The land was purchased to provide a burial ground for Upton in 1888 and this is the last remaining patch to be converted from allotments.