THERE may be a question mark over the future of the March Street Mill Allotments in Rosetta Road, Peebles.

But fun was still the name of the game as the Allotment Association invited the public to inspect their plots in their annual Open Day on Saturday.

The gardeners are facing the threat of eviction as former mill owners Moorbrook Textiles Ltd tries to find ways around the refusal of the Scottish Government Planning Reporter to approve its plans to build houses on the allotment site.

But in keeping with the theme of the day, the only silver trophy on offer in the plot-holders’ fun competition was for the most peculiar-shaped vegetable.

It turned out to be a potato grown by seven-year-old Ellie Hill with the help of her parents, Brian and Rachel of Rosetta Road.

Ellie, who will be eight next week, had been out riding with her parents that morning as a member of Tweeddale Rideability Group, which was the allotment holders’ nominated charity for the event.

The group, which is a member of the Riding for the Disabled Association, maintains seven horses and ponies and offers riding for those who would benefit from the therapy, achievement and enjoyment the sport provides.

Tweeddale Rideability Group will receive half a total of £500 raised from the sale of produce, refreshments and the raffle of a hamper during the open day.

Allotments association chairman Ian Mewett said: “We had a beautiful day and a good turn-out of visitors, some of whom did not know that the allotments have been here since they were established for mill workers during the World War Two Dig for Britain campaign.

“It’s a valuable green space in the town and one that provides fresh locally grown and mostly organic produce for more than 40 plot holders and their families and friends.

“We’re grateful to Tesco’s, who gave us fresh fruit to distribute to children on the day and a voucher to cover teas and coffee for refreshments, and to our members worked hard on the day and donated fresh fruit and vegetables, jams and chutneys and other condiments to raise money.”

Moorbrook Textiles Ltd, which owns the redundant mill site and allotments area, are preparing fresh plans to build houses on the mill site and have threatened to close the allotments and evict the plot holders if the Scottish Government approves a bid by Peebles Community Trust (PCT) to register a Community Right to Buy on the area.

This would give PCT eight months to raise money to buy the site at the market price should Moorbrook place it on the open market.

Mr Mewett said, “We are aware of Moorbrook’s threat.

"A Community Right to Buy would not jeopardise any prospective sale but merely give the local community a small opening to develop thye site as something more than just houses.

“The allotments are a valuable and historic amenity for the town and their loss would be a blow, especially now that the issue of food miles has become more important amid an increasing risk of climate change.”