THE widow of a York gardener has appealed to the council to improve the allotments he cared for.

Pauline Wright, 77, lives in Lynden Way, and her garden backs onto the Green Lane allotments where Phil, her husband of 53 years, looked after the overall appearance of the allotments as site secretary for several years until his death in 2012.

Mrs Wright said her husband's efforts had improved the area, but she felt since no replacement had been found since his death, the allotments had fallen in to disrepair.

She said: "He had been working for City of York Council since he was 35 and used to plan the gardens out. Gardening was in his blood.

"He made the allotments so secure. He put trees up and railings with spikes up so people couldn't climb over the walls and he kept it absolutely impeccable but when he died nobody wanted the job. I went round and asked quite a lot of people and they didn't want the responsibility."

Mrs Wright said trees had been cut down, and new paths had been laid, which had transformed the look of the allotment, sections had been left to overgrow, and her concerns had not been taken on board by those now in charge of the allotments.

She said: "I can't believe the state of the allotment. It's absolutely horrendous now.

"They have cut a little path around the middle and they are allowing dog walkers to come round. The whole thing is so overgrown now I can't believe it. Even the sign is covered and overgrown. I just want it to be like they used to be."

Dave Meigh, the council’s operations manager for the public realm, said Mr Wright's work on the site was "long and extraordinarily committed", and he was much missed, but increased demand for the allotments meant changes were inevitable.

He said: "Over the past ten years, Green Lane allotments has grown from 68 to 101 tenants. To meet this growth, some larger plots have been partitioned, news ones have been created from uncultivated land and significant drainage works have further improved the site.

"The tenants asked that the area of open land is left uncut as a wildflower meadow, while a bench has been placed there and communal fruit trees planted. At least one of the present volunteer site secretaries are on site daily and regularly meet tenants and discuss their concerns and preferences."