GARDENERS have launched a fight to save allotment plots in Meltham.

They are asking for a planned mountain rescue headquarters to be built elsewhere.

Holme Valley Mountain Rescue (HVMR) hopes to build their headquarters next to allotments in Robert Ashton Memorial Park, Meltham.

The service, which has shared Marsden Fire Station with part-time firefighters since 2005, hopes to build a single-storey base with a garage and training and assembly room.

Kirklees Council will decide on the proposal after it received backing from Meltham Town Council on Monday.

But tenants with allotments at the park say one plot will be lost and the remaining eight ‘blighted’ by the building.

While 28 new plots were opened on land off Calmlands Road in spring, Meltham still has 11 people waiting for allotments.

Under the Allotments Act 1925 a change of land use to a council owned allotment must be approved by the Secretary of State.

The Secretary must be satisfied that a replacement plot is found for displaced tenants unless it is judged ‘unnecessary or not reasonably practicable’.

For six years Kirsty Martin, of Meltham, has been renting a 40 square metre plot, which will be lost if the plan goes ahead.

Mrs Martin and her family were allowed to rent the land, which had been earmarked for development, on a temporary basis.

But Mrs Martin believes the plan heralds an unnecessary loss of green space.

Mrs Martin said: “The Meltham community applauds the work of HVMR team but they feel that there must be an alternative site somewhere in the area for their headquarters other than on allotment land in a residential park.

“There are so many other places in Meltham.

“Just a bit down the road there’s an office block with a massive garage or they could extend the fire station in Marsden.”

But HVMR say their headquarters will have little impact on the adjacent plots.

Treasurer Tony Burrie said: “We’ve had objections from one or two people who think we are going to block out light but it’s only going to be 10ft high. The building we are proposing is single storey.

“We’ve spoken to the allotment people and they can gather some run-off rainwater from the roof. We’re trying to get it to fit in.

“And we will build an access road so they will get better access.”

HVMR, which carries out rescues in West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and the Peak District, had a base at Meltham Hall for 30 years until 2005.

The service, which was founded in 1965, won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.