Celebrating the fruits of their labour
Council wins gold for gardens restoration
THE hard work to restore Eastcote House Gardens to their former glory has been rewarded with a Green Apple Award.
The awards honour and promote environmental best practice from around the world and Hillingdon Council’s Eastcote House Gardens pipped 32 other councils to take gold in the local authority category.
Eastcote House has stood at the heart of historic Eastcote village for more than 500 years. Its stables, dovecote and walled garden are now listed and sit in more than nine acres of mature parkland.
Ten years ago the site was in a poor condition with the stable block windows boarded up, concealing damp, and the toilets and other building work desperately in need of an upgrade.
Between 2008 and 2015, Hillingdon Council worked with the Friends of Eastcote House Gardens and the Heritage Lottery Fund to completely transform the site into an attractive, safe and accessible educational and community venue.
A £1.73 million restoration fund helped to return the stables, dovecote and walled garden to their former splendour.
The site has been removed from Historic England’s At Risk Register and last year Eastcote House Gardens won gold in the Park of the Year section of London in Bloom, while this summer the Friends received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The Friends deliver events like the Summer Picnic, which welcomes hundreds of visitors to the gardens every year.
The stables, now a wellused venue, host yoga classes, meetings and children’s parties and the popular cafe offers high quality, home-cooked food. A professionally led community archaeology programme has also welcomed hundreds of school children to excavation programmes at the site over the past three summers.
Cllr Jonathan Bianco, Hillingdon Council cabinet member for finance, property and business services, said: “We are very proud of this award. The council and Friends group have worked so hard to restore Eastcote House Gardens and it is wonderful to see the commitment to this remarkable project recognised with a gold Green Apple Award.”
Roger Wolens, Green Apple Awards’ chief executive, said: “The quantity and quality of entries was very high this year and Hillingdon did very well in the face of stiff competition. These Green Apple Awards are for the built environment and architectural heritage and the judges recognised the effort to adapt and preserve an important area that serves the whole community.”
The honour was announced at the International Green Apple Awards for Built Environment and Architectural Heritage on August 8 at The Crystal, Royal Victoria Docks.
n GOOD APPLES: Paula Owen, a specialist in energy efficiency, presents Charmian Baker, planning specialist manager at Hillingdon Council, and Ben Shakespeare, of Land Use Consultants, with their Green Apple Award n
WELL DESERVED: The walled garden after the work and left, supports strengthen the brickwork