Sutton allotment owners 'moved to tears' as community steps up after huge fire

A group of Sutton allotment holders say they have been ‘moved to tears’ by the community spirit shown by residents and business in the aftermath of a large fire which destroyed their plots.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 11:45 am

The blaze at the Lane End Allotments – close to the King’s Mill Farm pub off King’s Mill Road East – on Friday night has devastated the site with heartbroken plot owners saying they ‘have lost everything’.

But since the fire, they say they have been overwhelmed by the generosity of people in the area who have donated more than £600 to a GoFundMe page – while they have also received an offer of replacement items from as far away as Edinburgh.

Gill Brunt lives nearby and heard the explosion from her house – but only found out via social media that her allotment had been affected.

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Sheds were burned to the ground in the incident at Lane End Allotments in Sutton on Friday. Photo: Gill Brunt.

“We heard an explosion, and then pictures of the fire started appearing online,” she said.

"The emergency services were absolutely fantastic, working quickly to extinguish the flames, but the damage was awful.

"Seven sheds were torched and greenhouses were smashed – we’ve lost everything – tools, plants, the lot.

"It’s awful for everyone involved, but the community spirit has moved me to tears. We’ve even been offered replacements from Edinburgh.”

The large fire at Lane End Allotments close to the King's Mill Farm pub on Friday evening. Photo: Simona Sprowell.

One allotment owner had only recently installed his new shed which was destroyed in the blaze – news that caught the attention of Neil Ashmore, who has been in touch to offer a replacement.

His firm The Shed Brothers officially opens for business later this month, selling sheds and garden furniture in the Mansfield and Ashfield area – but he and brother Phil were only to happy to step in to help after hearing about the blaze.

“We are just in the process of launching our new business, but when we heard of this awful incident I immediately got in touch to see if we could help replace something for the tenants,” said Neil.

"We know it isn’t much but hope it will help somewhat towards rebuilding for them. Community is really important, so we were glad to help.”

Neil and Phil Ashmore of The Shed Brothers have donated a shed to one of the allotment owners.

At the height of the blaze, firefighters from Ashfield, Mansfield, Alfreton, Blidworth and Nottingham’s London Road stations fought to bring the fire under control.

A 31-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of arson and due to appear in court today, but police say a ‘thorough’ investigation into the blaze will continue.

Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Nick Butler, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “This was a resource intensive incident that required a joint response from emergency services.

“Not only has this caused damage to several of the allotments but it would have also been incredibly concerning for the local community.

Damaged greenhouses at Lane End Allotments in Sutton. Photo: Gill Brunt.

“I’d like to reassure residents that we quickly located and arrested a suspect in connection with this case and are now working to establish the circumstances.

“Action will be taken against whoever did this.”

- Anyone with information about the fire should contact police on 101, quoting incident number 868 of May 14.