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Bring back our carrots plea over garden revamp

Blank canvas for neighbours of open space

21 August, 2020 — By Dan Carrier

The former community garden in Bassett Street

FRUIT and vegetable patches could return to a garden in Gospel Oak – months after council workman were ordered to remove beds used for over a decade by a community gardening club.

The site in Bassett Street had been a celebrated community garden looked after by neighbours, a primary school, a nursery and other community groups.

But a row broke out over whether people living in a block next door to the land should have the exclusive right to access it. The Town Hall ruled they did and cleared the plot, but told the Bassett Street Tenant and Residents Association to develop their own plans with a “blank canvas”. These proposals will include space for food-growing, it has now been revealed.

Now the Bassett Street Gardening Club hope it will be given the chance to return to the original site in the autumn and share it with neighbours.

The Bassett Street TRA say that the beds will be offered to their members first – and any remaining will be given to the wider community, including previous growers Rhyl School and the Woodentots Nursery.

The Town Hall say new plans were delayed by the pandemic – but hope by the end of the week to have finalised a design. It includes areas for seating and picnic benches, a lawn, some ornamental planting – and the food growing beds.

A spokesperson for the Gardening Club said: “The Gardening Club has not yet been asked if we would like some beds. Members would like very much to come back again after the site’s sad demise. “And with Covid-19, it would be a great way to bring our community back together. There is a lot of enthusiasm to get started.”

The spokesperson added the land had been partially cleared and lost half of its plants. “We urgently want to put right the damage that has been done,” they said.

Camden’s housing chief Labour Councillor Meric Apak said: “The council will continue to work with the TRA to help support the delivery of this work and refine the design as required. As with all landscaping works carried out by the council, the planting will take place in the autumn to give the plants the best opportunity of survival and reduce our environmental impact of the increased watering in required during the summer.”

Cllr Apak added: “We have proposed several alternative sites to the gardening club, however as of this point in time none of these have been accepted and we continue to discuss possible alternative locations with them.”

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