Asbestos, baths ‘full of green water’, floating dead rats and shopping trolleys: The hazards a gardener found on his new Sheffield allotment

A gardener who took on a new allotment in Sheffield says he was left with a ‘safety hazard’ when he arrived at his plot to find it littered with dangerous waste – including lethal asbestos.

By Georgia Ellis
Monday, 29 April, 2019, 13:12
Rubbish on Scott Rasdale's allotment.

Scott Rasdale, aged 47, of Birley, paid for an allotment in Meersbrook as he wanted to spend time with his son outdoors – however, after entering a contract with the council, his delight turned to despair when he saw the mess he had acquired.

“Before arriving I was excited to see my plot of land, but as I entered I thought I'd gone to Shirecliffe tip,” he said. 

Rubbish on Scott Rasdale's allotment.

“My plot was full of old rubbish, from shopping trolleys and door frames to smashed glass. Baths full of green water with floating dead rats inside them littered my plot, while an asbestos pipes runs inside the building. It’s a safety hazard and my son can't enjoy this space with me.’’ 

He hired a skip to remove some of the waste, and contacted the council twice, but the asbestos and other heavy items remained.

“I'm still waiting for asbestos to be removed as it is dangerous to be around,” said Mr Rasdale, who owns a cleaning business. “My son has special needs and autism so the allotment was for me to spend a bit of time outdoors with him digging and planting but I can't do this with him. I’m still messing around moving rubbish. It's not fair.’’

He added: “When you take these plots on you expect them to be usable not full of rubbish. I’ve been in contact twice with the council but they've still not turned up. The council should clear these plots as soon as they have been signed and paid for. I just don't think it is right that people are doing the council’s job for them.’’

Lisa Firth, the authority’s head of parks and countryside, said: “When someone takes on an allotment we advise them to be very careful in case hazards are found as they can be concealed by vegetation or overgrowth, and we ask people to report any issues straight away. 

“On some occasions asbestos is found and as soon as we are made aware we arrange for removal. Mr Rasdale took the allotment on one month ago and reported his concerns at the time. We instructed our contractor to remove the asbestos.’’

The asbestos is expected to be removed this week.