OUTRAGED allotment owners have accused the council of damaging their plots during exploratory work.

Council officers were at the Winnersh allotments to dig boreholes before the construction of the north Wokingham distributor road.

The owners were shocked to arrive at the allotments to find one of the sand pipes destroyed and the supply pipe folded and sealed with cable ties.

Other damage to the plots includes large trenches dug up by a drilling rig that was driven across the area.

Nigel Woodward, an allotment owner, said: "I arrived at the plot to do some work, only to find that the council had already come on site. 

"They had brought in heavy machinery that was driven across four or five plots demolishing a pipe and peoples cultivated crops."

Mr Woodward does not believe that the damage was caused by fellow allotment owners as it has not happened in the past.

He added: "They have just cut two great trenches through the middle of the allotments with no warning. Whoever was growing those crops have lost everything that they have started and all the work put in to it was for nothing."

The accusations were denied by Wokingham Borough Council who say that no damage was made my their vehicles.

A Wokingham Borough Council spokesman said: “We apologise that Winnersh Parish Council and allotment holders were not informed that this early, exploratory work was to start and we have now paused the work until the parish can be fully briefed. 

"But the suggestion that actively used allotment plots have been damaged is simple not true and, although a tap did have to be moved, this has been replaced.

“Contractors went to the site to dig bore holes as part of the pre-construction ground investigations for the North Wokingham Distributor Road.

"When the contractors arrived, they spoke to allotment holders and were advised that the best route for equipment to reach the bore holes was via some plots that had not been used for a considerable time and that is the route they followed. 

"Some tracks were made through these unused plots and the contractors will return to the site to ensure no permanent marking remains."

The current allotments are set to be moved to different premises by summer 2018.