ALLOA Allotments Association has finally signed an official lease with Clackmannanshire Council for its land at Keilarsbrae in Sauchie.

The association has been using the site since 1994 but due to a dispute over land ownership was never able to secure a formal agreement with the local authority. It had been operating with a draft lease since 1997/98.

However the deal was done last week when three 2010-2012 office bearers - chairman Mike Hodge, secretary John Blake and treasurer Joyce Morton - signed a 25-year lease on behalf of the association.

It will run from November 2012 until November 2037 with a nominal rental fee paid annually and reviewed every five years.

Mike was delighted with the move and said it made the wait worthwhile.

He said, "It is a milestone day for all of us to be signing this lease. It finally gives us the security we have been trying to get for the past 16 years.

"It means we are now properly constituted as an association and can now apply for things such as environmental improvement grants, as opposed to the situation we were in previously having just a draft lease and a draft constitution.

"This was an area of previous wasteland, which the allotment plot holders have turned to good use for the environment and improved the area at the same time.

"It has been just as frustrating as gardening trying to finally get to this stage, but we can't thank the council enough to see this through to a successful conclusion for everyone concerned."

Councillor Gary Womersley was also present at the signing and said, "I was delighted to oversee the lease for the Alloa Allotments Association finally reach a successful conclusion.

"They play an important and vital role in our community. Allotments are essential to help the environment, but at the same time, this particular area was wasteland. They have transformed it and made it into an excellent resource."

The three acre site has 36 individual allotment plot holders, all of which are fully occupied at present.