MEASURES to push aside allotment-holders who waste their plots are to be toughened.
Anger is growing at the high proportion of untended plots in the Hartley Down allotments in Coulsdon at a time when the waiting list for council-run plots has been closed due to high demand.
Owners say rules about cultivating the plots are rarely enforced, and as many as a quarter have been left to seed.
Ward councillor Chris Wright said: "It is just a shame they are not being used when we know there is a big waiting list.
"There is perhaps a quarter, perhaps a bit less, a fair number."
The council now wants growers to form a committee to oversee the plots and alert its officers to any unused ones.
It could then either let them out or issue their holders with the standard warnings and notices to quit.
Hartley Down plot-holder Keith Spencer welcomed the idea.
He said: "I am a bit loathe to go down a path of rules and regulations, but these problems could probably be sorted out if we had a local committee.
"We could let the council know when the plots are available; it seems straightforward.
"Other allotments in the borough have formed co-operatives to help each other.
"We may want to share equipment or if we want to challenge something we could all get together."
Mr Spencer said untended allotments were not only a waste, adding: "It also becomes unsightly and can attract animals who can come through onto yours."
A council spokeswoman said: "We are aware of the issues caused by plots that aren't being cultivated.
"Now that it's winter and there are 14 vacant plots at Hartley Down, we have written to plot-holders there to ask for their views on setting up their own management committee – possibly in the spring. So far the feedback has been positive.
"A committee would have involvement in managing overgrown plots and letting them out to people on the waiting list."
The council is planning to strim overgrown areas, she added, which have also been blamed for attracting deer.