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