Community matters

By mrswoolybill
Members in North East England may have heard about this story, it's been in the news locally this week. These pictures aren't wonderful, but it's a cause that is very close to my heart
This is Rockcliffe Avenue Communal Garden, in Whitley Bay. North Tyneside Council wants to get rid of it.
The houses on Rockcliffe Avenue back onto a drab, boring street that gives full vehicular access. They face onto a strictly pedestrian-only lane.
About six years ago one of the residents, Mike Kelley, thought it would brighten the lane up a bit if he put a few plant pots along the frontage of his property. The idea spread, other neighbours joined in. This is the result. There's no permanent, rooted planting by the way, these are all neat, tidy pots and hanging baskets. As I think you will see, there's plenty of room for pedestrians, wheelchairs, children.
The garden has turned what was previously a dingy, sometimes vandalised backwater into a place of joy and beauty. It brings people out of their houses and it brings them together. It has won a number of awards including some from the Council that has now decided that it should disappear. It has twice been named North Tyneside in Bloom Community Garden of the Year.
Whitley Bay is not a pretty place, and it has not fared well in recent hard times. It needs all the beauty and optimism that it can muster.
The Council has said that once all this has gone it will allow residents to start again from scratch if they sign up for Council-approved pots, from its own suppliers, at 400 each. I won't comment further on that.
V1 and V2 are details of a special place.
V3 A Whitley Bay resident picking up details of the campaign to keep the garden, and V4 expressing his feelings on the matter. We met a number of residents, they are not giving in easily.
V5 Mike Kelley, originator of the garden, retired Royal Marine and Army Staff Sergeant, a strong character. I think the Council has a fight on its hands...
There is an online petition in support of the garden here . (I've checked that it's OK to give the link.)
Thanks for looking,

Tags: Photo journalism Flowers and plants Community photography

Readers' Choice Awards are given to photos that get over 30 votes

Take your photography to the next level and beyond...

  • NEWS

Why not join for free today?

Join for Free

Your total photography experience starts here

Exclusive 25% off Affinity Photo: Professional photo editing with no subscription!


andylea 9 37 1 United Kingdom
21 Jun 2013 8:02AM
it needs to be kept special moira Wink

Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

21 Jun 2013 8:06AM
Excellent Moira. I have just signed the petition and left my thoughts. What is wrong with Local Authorities? I didn't see the TV coverage. What justification did they give for their heavy-handed, petty and irrational behaviour?
widtink 5 406 2 Scotland
21 Jun 2013 8:07AM
Thats a disgrace Moira bloody cooncils . Very wortwhile cause so well done SmileSmileSmile

NaturesHaven 6 283 6 England
21 Jun 2013 8:19AM
I read about this...............Boo to the's all down to POWER...............I hope the people give the council a stiff two - finger salute, the residents did a marvellous job and the area looks so much better............and according to reports anti - social behaviour has fallen..........I'd call that a result and everybody benefits..........GrinGrinGrinGrinGrinGrinGrinGrin
nonur Plus
9 17 13 Turkey
21 Jun 2013 8:21AM
That's marvellous, Moira. I don't know if it counts, but I signed the petition. Great shots, by the way. Thank you for sharing!
Nigeve1 Plus
5 1.4k 101 United Kingdom
21 Jun 2013 8:22AM
Typicaly outrageous and irrational council decision, it never ceases to amaze me the calibre of individuals whom are payed from the public purse to sit on endless committees to come up with rediculous decisions and edicts like this.

cats_123 Plus
14 4.8k 28 Northern Ireland
21 Jun 2013 8:28AM
Words fail me!SadSadSad
franken Plus
15 4.6k 4 United Kingdom
21 Jun 2013 8:34AM
Another case of out of touch councils Moira.

I've signed the petition.

jaktis 14 84 Sweden
21 Jun 2013 8:37AM
I hope for the best

mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1929 United Kingdom
21 Jun 2013 8:59AM

Quote:What is wrong with Local Authorities? I didn't see the TV coverage. What justification did they give for their heavy-handed, petty and irrational behaviour?

As I understand it, allegedly someone in the town complained and the Council 'had a duty to investigate'.
Their first pronouncement was based on access concerns, the pots could get in pedestrians' way. (So they want them to be replaced with their own bigger ones...)
When it was pointed out that two wheelchairs can easily pass each other here they cited 'Elf 'n' Safety. Someone could trip over those pots. As indeed they could in any park, garden, patio...
Then it was the need for insurance cover. Well an insurance company has offered that at a very reasonable rate.
Now there needs to be a public consultation.
I get the impression that it's down to the obsession with uniformity, every street floral display should look the same; and with some local authorities, once a process starts there's no way of stopping it, it gathers its own momentum. Plus of course there are the 400 pots that they'd like to sell.
Cheers everyone. I'll pass this link on to Mike Kelley.
By the way, this sort of issue really does bring out the fighting spirit in the British I think. I could practically hear the sound of pitchforks being sharpened.
richmowil Plus
9 352 2 England
21 Jun 2013 9:45AM
People who take pride in where they live should be applauded and supported!! This is a perfect example of why there is a need to reform local government to bring back common sense to the systems/people who govern and influence our lives!!
boov 5 2 United Kingdom
21 Jun 2013 10:07AM
Great series....
ChiliMan 11 135 17 Singapore
21 Jun 2013 10:25AM

Quote:The Council has said that once all this has gone it will allow residents to start again from scratch if they sign up for Council-approved pots, from its own suppliers, at 400 each.

I don't understand this. This is nothing but blatant bullying and daylight extortion. And since this is a Council plan, does this mean the British government won't do anything? I mean, does this mean the people of this beautiful place have no one to turn to? I don't know how things work but it is really upsetting to think that the Council can get away with this sort of barbarism. What the hell is happening to the world?? Honestly...
ChiliMan 11 135 17 Singapore
21 Jun 2013 10:42AM
I've just signed the petition and I'm gonna try to garner more signatures.
21 Jun 2013 11:09AM
Good for you, Moira. We had a slightly similar run-in with 'City Hall' on the small estate where I live. On a very much smaller scale though- we simply ignored them and they eventually went away.
I'll sign.

TrevBatWCC Plus
9 12 12 England
21 Jun 2013 11:17AM
Well, you can't have residents doing their own thing, and not complying with the Council can you? Sad It's a pity they've nothing better to concern themselves with...
These are wonderful pictures, Moira, and you've captured very nicely the work put in by the residents. And I just love that ornament in V1! Wink
mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1929 United Kingdom
21 Jun 2013 11:29AM
Thanks again everyone. I'll keep you posted as to any further developments here.
I was going to put a wider view of the street as the lead image. But I think the ornament in V1 sums up rather nicely what the place is about. Having somewhere pleasant to sit and relax out of doors.
widtink 5 406 2 Scotland
21 Jun 2013 11:34AM
That can be priceless actuallyGrinGrin Grin GOMOGO Wink
21 Jun 2013 11:50AM
Good on you Moira, this is clearly a case of bureaucracy gone mad and you have to smell a rat with the 400 for new pots, I wonder who will get that contract, the cynic in me is working overtime
Joline Plus
12 30 53 United States
21 Jun 2013 11:51AM
What is the disease that politicians seem to get...I think it greeditis!
I hope the people prevail and protect their well conceived beautification process. I'll sign the petition, but they probably will discount it as I'm a would be good for them to know they have drawn the attention from the world though. Thanks to the international friendship of EPZ.
Joline Plus
12 30 53 United States
21 Jun 2013 12:02PM
I have posted this to facebook with a plea for people from all over to sign this petition. I hope it draws the attention of the world. Such efforts should be applauded, not thwarted.
mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1929 United Kingdom
21 Jun 2013 12:12PM
Cheers, Joline. I gather that signatures are coming in from all over the world.
Even tho I am on Oz , have signed the petition Moira, with my reasons for doing so...damned Councils, really !!!!! SadSadSadSad Good luck with it, and wonderful pics...and Mike looks like a lovely bloke..GrinGrin

Lynette GrinGrin
Fefe Plus
6 23 31 United Kingdom
21 Jun 2013 12:22PM
I have signed Moira.....
Its a bloomin outrageTongueTongueTongue
SlowSong Plus
9 7.4k 30 England
21 Jun 2013 12:41PM
Oh yes, I did read this story - with mounting outrage. Do humans, any with an iota of sense, work on councils these days? It appears not.
Jasper87 Plus
8 2.0k 150 England
21 Jun 2013 1:23PM
Signed! Looks a lovely snicket, Moira.

taggart Plus
13 47 13 United States
21 Jun 2013 1:56PM
They should leave it alone and give this place a prize!
How petty can Council officialdom get?
It beggars belief. "I don't believe it" as someone famously said.


Red cars should never park beside blue cars and white cars should always park on the left hand side of the street.

As a matter of interest in Glasgow today I spotted lovely new white lines being painted on streets with huge potholes.
Officialdom is alive and living down your street too.
CarolG 11 199 20 Greece
21 Jun 2013 5:01PM
Have signed, Moira, hope they get enough signatures. Carol
saltireblue Plus
8 8.1k 33 Norway
21 Jun 2013 5:19PM
Councillors and politicians.

I have always maintained that any individual expressing a desire to become a councillor or politician should be automatically barred from holding any form of public office. All perks and expenses should be done away with.

Minimum expenses for necessary things can be granted against receipts. No attendance money just for turning up at a meeting. Etc., etc., etc.

They forget that they are elected to represent the people, and listen to the wishes of the people...I'll stop before I have a blood pressure problem.

Moira, I sincerely hope that mind over matter prevails here - the people have a mind and the councillors don't matter.
Petition signed, needless to say.


...oh, not bad images as wellGrin
AnnChown Plus
8 207 1 United Kingdom
21 Jun 2013 5:25PM
Oh for goodness sake! Words fail me - I'm off to sign up! Can't say more as I'd have to resort to 'bad language' and name calling! Shame Pete got rid of that angry emoticon.
Nikonuser1 Plus
5 153 16 United Kingdom
21 Jun 2013 5:29PM
What up with the authorities? I saw this reported on the news, words fail me!!!!!!!!!!!

ChiliMan 11 135 17 Singapore
21 Jun 2013 5:39PM
Found an email from Mike (not sure if it is a form letter but it doesn't matter anyway) thanking me and telling me how I can spread the word on Facebook by clicking on a link he gave me. I don't really do Facebook and haven't been in in yonks but what the hey, every bit counts! I only have a few contacts there but I'm sure they can spread it to their contacts and so on. Let's hope all this works! So very happy if it does.
21 Jun 2013 7:42PM
V1 is just SOOOOOOOOOO chill out Moira.

John Smile
LynneJoyce Plus
10 20 99 United Kingdom
21 Jun 2013 11:14PM
Petition duly signed. Thanks for bringing this to our attention . I trust that V1 is a portrait of the campaign organiser.
helenlinda Plus
11 360 22 United Kingdom
22 Jun 2013 10:09AM
A worthy cause to back Moira- have signed the petition
Terrific set of images SmileSmile
Joline Plus
12 30 53 United States
22 Jun 2013 12:01PM
Please let us know the progress or otherwise of this situation. I hope for the best.
LexEquine 12 19 United States
22 Jun 2013 7:19PM
Superb & well Composed Image Set, Moira ~ Smile

Ciao ~ Pietro
Mavis Plus
16 143 2 England
22 Jun 2013 8:03PM
Surprising what people can do when they all pull together. You have shown us this side way with all the beauty that has made it a better place to be. The Council surely don't think anyone can afford 400 , do they ?
pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2022 United Kingdom
22 Jun 2013 9:09PM
Keep up the good work, Moira!!!!!
Have signed.
annettep38 Plus
7 218 40 Costa Rica
23 Jun 2013 1:33PM
fight the concrete and tarmac! Wish you luck!!
A friend of mine, obviously slightly bitten by the Land Rover bug, suggested on the village council of the remotest place in the Ardennes you can imagine that to slow down the traffic, we'd better get rid of the tarmac. And every person living on this stretch of road should plant something in front of her/his house. He was wrongly accused to be slightly biased towards green lanes but a green lane was exactly what he wanted.
He lost regarding the tarmac, but they did plant lots of stuff and now it is the greenest little village you can imagine.
Glostopcat 12 255 2 England
28 Jun 2013 6:01PM
A top rant from Malc and I agree with what has been said. I hope you got the required number of signatures

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.