HE’S gained fans around the world, including US rap star Snoop Dogg for his world record growing abilities, but now Ian Neale’s giant veg is under threat from from a possible Gipsy site.
Mr Neale, from Langstone, Newport, has been growing award-winning veg, including giant swedes, cucumbers and carrots, for more than 30 years on land he owns near his home.
But the pensioner was stunned when he received a letter from Newport Council saying the land is now being considered as the potential base for a newtraveller site.
As the Argus has previously reported, a new list of 11 potential sites for Gipsy and traveller families was released by the council last week, after the previous shortlist including Yew Tree Cottages at Bettws and Queensway Meadows were scrapped.
None of the five sites which made up that original shortlist in June remain on the newlist.
Mr Neale wanted to make clear that no member of his family had volunteered the site for a new Gipsy camp after his brother was verbally abused at the Usk show.
Mr Neale was particularly shocked as his site, Langstone Nursery on Magor Road, next to his family home of 60 years, wasn’t even previously mentioned in the original council long-list which contained more than 220 locations.
The record-breaking gardener, whose triumphs include world records for heaviest cucumber, longest cucumber and heaviest swede, said: “If they took the land off me and I had to give up giant veg I would be devastated.
“I might as well just sit in the corner and wait to die.”
“The first I knew of it was a letter through my door.
I don’t know why they want to put them on my land, there isn’t enough room for the number of caravans they are proposing,” Mr Neale said.
“I’m not interested in selling, if I was I’d give them a real price, as it is my price is £5million.”
Newport council stressed that no decisions have been made at this stage and a final list of proposed sites will be drawn up following the consultation.
Mr Neale rocketed to worldwide fame last year when hip hop legend, Snoop Dogg, made a video praising his giant veg.
● A meeting last week was attended by almost 400 people who were asked to write letters to the council outlining reasons to object.
It was argued that facilities in Langstone are non-existent with “principal” shops miles away. One resident said the road alongside Llanmartin Primary School was “full of potholes”.
An action group has been established and at least 300 people have signed a petition over the issue.
Medieval earthworks at site ‘unknown’
ONE of the other proposed Gipsy sites in the east of Newport contains a protected ancient monument, it has emerged.
The land that has been earmarked as a potential site south of Langstone Cottage has, according to online maps, a medieval earthworks on it. Newport council has revealed the project team of councillors that drew up the list did not know about it when the list was compiled.
A spokeswoman said: “This highlights the importance of the consultation process and the value of local knowledge.
We encourage anyone with information about any of the sites to feed into the process.”
Langstone councillor David Atwell, who chaired the scrutiny committee that the project team was formed from, said: “They haven’t recieved very good advice if they have included that site.”
A Cadw spokesperson said: “We have been consulted formally regarding the potential location of a Gipsy site on a protected site at Langstone Earthworks.
“We will respond formally to the proposal when the consultation period closes on October 4.”