Parish council is slammed as ‘the meanest in the country’ after banning a childminder from taking TODDLERS to an allotment
- Hannah Lovelock, 43, from Stoke Poges, says she has ‘meanest parish in Britain’
- Childminder has been told she cannot use allotment if she has children with her
- Mrs Lovelock used to take daughter, Nora, four, and two charges, two, to the plot
Once a week childminder Hannah Lovelock took her daughter and her two two-year-old charges to her allotment.
All that fresh air and the chance to look at the plants probably did the children good, while neighbouring plot-holders in the village loved seeing them during lockdown.
But the parish council has decided the visits breach allotment rules – because childminding is a commercial activity.
Mrs Lovelock, 43, will be kicked off her plot if she breaks the rule. The childminder, who lives with husband James, 39, and four daughters in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, said: ‘They must be the meanest parish councillors in Britain.
Hannah Lovelock with her daughter Nora, four, inside her allotment plot in Stoke Poges
‘They say the 1922 Allotments Act forbids commercial activity. It’s ridiculous, that meant growing produce commercially, not bringing a couple of toddlers to see the plants.’
She said there was rarely anyone there when she took her daughter, Nora, four, and Emma and Olivia, two, adding: ‘Those that were there loved to see the kids.’
Four councillors on the environment committee, led by Saera Carter, 55, voted to ban childminding at the allotments.
Minutes of an online meeting suggest there was an abstention and one vote against.
Some of the children Mrs Lovelock looks after at the location of her allotment in Stoke Poges
Mrs Lovelock, who had previously had a parking dispute with the parish council, said there had been no complaints about her.
She added: ‘I’ve had confirmation from 17 childminders around the UK that they take childminded children to their allotment plots.’
Chairman of the National Allotment Society John Irwin said: ‘We regard children on plots as an educational opportunity, not a business activity.’
Picture shows: Parish Councillor Mr Geoff Cox (furthest right), Parish Councillor Mary Crocker (second from right), Saera Carter Vice Chair Parish Council and Chair on Recreation and Environment sub Committee (third from right)
At the allotment, gardener Tom Atkins, 65, said: ‘The parish council are totally unreasonable dictators. I loved seeing Hannah here with the beautiful little kids.’
Stoke Poges parish council said: ‘A registered childminder is operating a commercial venture… in breach of the tenancy agreement and would therefore not be covered by council insurance.’
Councillor Carter said: ‘It’s strange how one person has so many run-ins with people in the village.’