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Saturday, 02 August 2014

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Decision delayed on controversial west Cumbrian community garden

The site of a planned community garden on a Workington estate will be visited by councillors next week.

People living in Westfield have objected to proposals by social landlord Derwent & Solway to turn a piece of land on Garth Road into a garden because they fear it will encourage anti-social behaviour and cause an increase in traffic.

Members of Allerdale council’s development panel were asked to approve the plans last month, but instead opted for a site visit. They will visit Westfield on Tuesday, before they discuss the application at a meeting at the Wave Centre in Maryport at 1pm.

Derwent & Solway want to transform the land into a garden for residents to grow their own food.

The land was previously used as allotments but had fallen into disuse.

It is part of a bid to address health inequality, promote financial inclusion and improve quality of life.

Funding has been secured by the Big Lottery and the project could start this October.

The project aims to create more than 100 volunteering opportunities and two apprenticeships. The garden would include a planting area and raised beds, greenhouse and storage buildings.

But people in Garth Road and Ghyll Road are not happy about the plans.

A 21-name petition was submitted to the development panel objecting to the scheme and Wendy O’Neil, of Garth Road, said her privacy and security would be compromised as the only access to the earmarked land was beside her house.

Ms O’Neil said the community garden would lead to an increase in traffic on a road which already had limited parking, resulting in massive problems for the residents.

Graham Skimming, of Ghyll Road, said: “It has been proven that however nice-sounding on paper community projects such as this are, they never work, particularly around this area and it will inevitably end up becoming disused and vandalised.”

Two other applications from Derwent & Solway for community gardens at Hillary Close and Wastwater Avenue have already been approved. Councillors wanted a site visit to Garth Road because of confusion over which residents would use the gardens.

Officers have recommended that plans are approved, saying the development was not considered detrimental and was not anticipated to create anti-social behaviour.

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