WOULD-be allotment cultivators in Leominster have won a campaign for plots after "digging up" an old by-law.

They unearthed a rule which states allotments must be provided by the town council if six people request them.

Now members of the recently formed Leominster Allotment Garden Society - most of whom only have window boxes and tiny back yards - are thrilled with their success.

They can soon start digging on a 2.5-acre site at Ginhall Lane, Leominster.

The town council has agreed a 21-year lease on part of a field bordering the town's electricity sub-station.

Diggers' group secretary David Martin said members were delighted - their campaign began in November 2003.

"We are champing at the bit to make a start," said Mr Martin, a retired maintenance engineer. "If we can get on to the land this autumn, we can get the preparation done for next year.

"We will then have a whole allotmenting year ahead of us."

A small car parking area and toilets will be provided. It is thought the site, which must include paths, could accommodate 30 full-size allotments of 90 by 30 ft.

About 10 could be sub-divided for people who only want a half plot.

Rents have yet to be set. Mr Martin said he hoped the council would agree "reasonable" charges. People wanting allotments included pensioners and those on benefits, he said.

"Allotments could be a great way of helping people who have had difficulties in their lives getting back to doing things," he said.

Mr Martin paid credit to the town council, which accepted its obligation and carried out a lengthy search for land.

Mayor Roger Hunt said he was pleased with the big step forward. "It's taken 18 months but we got there," he said.

Former Leominster allotment sites were all swallowed up by development.

People interested in the allotments project can call Mr Martin on 01568 610636.