Building a community through a garden…

On a scrap of land next to Belgic Court in The Limes development in Roman Ward, Cllr Heather Hayward is leading a transformation.

The land, at the corner of The Limes, Ashford, was a playground area. Five years ago, planning permission was granted to build 8 self-contained flats, with a condition that half of the site should become  allotment plots for local residents. The matter was passed to Stanhope Parish Council who advertised  to parishioners to apply for an allotment. Ten applicants were needed to make the site viable – their subscriptions were needed to cover the Parish Council’s maintenance costs. Just two people enquired….so for five years the plot has been left unattended; overgrown and increasingly a site for  fly-tipping, it was a local eye-sore.

The subject of this plot of land was raised by residents several times during the May Local Election campaign; people felt ‘cheated’ out of their promised community space and irritated by the scruffy site that remained as the allotments plan did not happen.

Cllr Heather Hayward suggested to  Stanhope Parish Council that, if individuals didn’t want the responsibility of an allotment, perhaps the community could come together to create and maintain a garden that could benefit young and old….

There are many examples of the benefits that community gardens can bring; a place to learn from others how to ‘Grow your Own’, a place to do things together, a pleasant place to sit but, most importantly, with a group fo volunteers the community can take ownership of a place and create something that they are proud to call ‘The Limes Community Garden’.

Heather has now set up a  charity to manage the project and the five trustees are busy working to create a garden from a wilderness. You can follow their progress at:  www.thelimescommunitygarden.org