An allotment site owned and managed by Waltham Forest Council has been left to overgrow uncontrollably, despite promises it will be maintained, according to plot holders.

Hawkwood Allotment site in Drysdale Avenue, Chingford, is one of 16 sites owned by the council and managed by an allotments officer. 

Plots holders Patricia and John Richards, both 75, of Mark Avenue in Chingford, claim half of the 24 plots are unoccupied and those remaining have been left to ruin, as well as many pathways being taken over by bramble bushes and Japanese knotweed. 

The allotments page on the council's website, last updated on July 17, reads, 'due to the overwhelming number of applications, all allotment places have been filled'. 

The couple, who have held at plot there for over a decade, say they have made numerous attempts to get the land maintained. 

Mr Richards said: "My wife has been to various members in the council, including the councillors but we've got nowhere. 

"We're continually being told there is an interest and a waiting list but the people of Leyton, Leytonstone and Walthamstow that want an allotment are being told there is none available. 

"The council will not own up to the land not being maintained they just keep promising again and again it will be cleared but nothing is done.

"Main pathways were kept in order by the council but in the last five years no-one has come at all. You can walk along them but with a certain amount of difficulty."

After writing to deputy leader and cabinet member for environment councillor Clyde Loakes, the couple managed to have two plots either side of theirs cleared but the "weeds came back and no new tenant appeared". 

Mr Richards suspects this is part of the main issue at the site. 

He added: "People haven't turned up work them because of health problems or old age and they are left in good working order but there is no immediate replacement.

"The council are not advertising the availability and are not being quick enough to get someone it.

"Frankly, they're not doing their job."

Following a complaint in April, the couple received a response from the council admitting the site had 'not been filled to capacity for at least the last 30 years'. 

Chingford and Woodford Green MP Iain Duncan-Smith visited the site on Friday and was 'not impressed'.

"Allotments in the borough are much sought after and a community asset and as such need to be looked after and their records of availability updated. 

"I will be writing to the London borough of Waltham Forest to urge them to ensure that this site is properly cared for inspected regularly," said Mr Duncan-Smith.

The council has been contacted for a comment.