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December 3, 2014

Community growers need protection

Four years ago, some locals began to reclaim a patch of derelict land at the back of their tenements. Clearing up the rubbish and embarking on a programme of planting up raised beds transformed the space at Agnew Lane into a much loved community growing space. For no apparent reason, two years ago, the developer sent in the bulldozers and returned it to its former neglected state. An utterly pointless act of corporate vandalism. The group, South Seeds, have since transferred their attention to another nearby site. Will the Community Empowerment Bill help resolve their state of powerlessness?



South Seeds

A year ago, on 8th November 2013 the owner of the land at Agnew Lane hired a squad of men and machines to bulldoze the community garden. The garden had been built by the local community over two years, to improve the derelict land they over looked. The garden had been productive, the presence of regular gardeners had reduced antisocial behaviour and it was no longer used as a regular drinking den. After the garden was destroyed, we all expected the land owner to start building on the land but a year later, Agnew Lane still lies empty and has attracted regular fly tipping and antisocial behaviour.

To view photographs of the Agnew Lane site before and after the community took it over and then to see what it looked like after the developer had destroyed the site click here 

In the last year, South Seeds has developed a new community garden at Queen’s Drive Lane, a block away. Local residents helped South Seeds build the garden. Following an abundant harvest, the Queen’s Drive Lane garden won the Thriving award 2014 from It’s Your Neighbourhood. The garden was built during weekly sessions over the 2014 growing season, this film shows a typical weekly gardening session at Queen’s Drive Lane towards the end of the season. The next growing season starts March/April next year.

To view a short film of the new site that South Seeds have moved to and to get a feel for what they have achieved, click here