Cel­e­brat­ing the fruits of their labour

Coun­cil wins gold for gar­dens restora­tion

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

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

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