Com­mu­nity gar­den all set to blos­som

Vol­un­teers aim to take over old nurs­ery site

Paisley Daily Express - - Front Page - Chris Tay­lor

Vol­un­teers want to trans­form the grounds of a for­mer nurs­ery into a com­mu­nity gar­den and veg­etable patch.

West End Grow­ing Grounds As­so­ci­a­tion ( WEGGA) has ap­pealed to have own­er­ship of the for­mer Car­brook Chil­dren’s Cen­tre’s trans­ferred to the group.

It has drawn up plans for a teach­ing space, raised beds and plant­ing in Pais­ley.

Stu­art MacRae, WEGGA chair­man, hailed the de­ci­sion to cre­ate a space where fam­i­lies can learn about the out­doors and pro­duce their own food.

He said: “The idea for this site came from a lo­cal res­i­dent.

“On his be­half, and of the many oth­ers lo­cally who have ex­pressed their in­ter­est and sup­port, we are de­lighted that the coun­cil has agreed to trans­fer own­er­ship.

“Sub­ject to ob­tain­ing the nec­es­sary fund­ing, we hope to com­plete the first stage in 2018 – pro­vid­ing 23 raised beds and 20 ground plots.

“Mem­ber­ship is free, with mod­est an­nual fees for those wish­ing to grow their own.”

Land­scape ar­chi­tect Mike Hy­att, who was re­spon­si­ble for Ren­frew’s Gar­den of Dreams, has been tasked with de­sign­ing the com­mu­nity gar­den.

WEGGA, which is sup­ported by Pais­ley West and Cen­tral Com­mu­nity Coun­cil, has been given £ 5,000 from the Stalled Spa­ces fund to help with costs.

The plot stretches to al­most an acre and has been ly­ing empty for a decade. It is over­grown with weeds, but has been used by Anglian Win­dows as a tem­po­rary com­pound dur­ing a glaz­ing work at nearby homes.

The firm is set to leave the site next month.

Pro­pos­als to trans­form the land were ap­proved in a In­fra­struc­ture, Land and En­vi­ron­ment Pol­icy Board re­port dis­cussed on Wed­nes­day.

It stated: “The WISH Com­mu­nity Gar­den project has a two- year im­ple­men­ta­tion pro­gramme.

“The ac­com­mo­da­tion within the site will en­able ed­u­ca­tional pro­grammes to be con­ducted on site, fa­cil­i­tated by part­ner­ship or­gan­i­sa­tions.

“The ed­u­ca­tional pro­grammes will be avail­able to the whole com­mu­nity, young and old.

“It will be de­voted to sus­tain­able lo­cal food pro­duc­tion and pro­vide a com­mu­nity gar­den for recre­ation and con­tem­pla­tion.

“The site will be man­aged daily by WEGGA mem­bers and this will al­low them to pro­vide sup­port and su­per­vi­sion to users.

“The two phases are cur­rently es­ti­mated at a cost of £295,000 plus VAT. WEGGA has a healthy bank bal­ance, which of­fi­cers have had sight of.

“They have pro­vided a ro­bust busi­ness plan for the pe­riod 2017 to 2022.

“WEGGA have been work­ing with of­fi­cers to pro­vide a busi­ness case which would al­low them to ac­quire the site at Car­brook Street and man­age their other prop­erty obli­ga­tions.”

It was slapped with a price tag of £563,529 a decade ago.

But its value plum­meted af­ter the fi­nan­cial crash in 2008 and no sale was com­pleted.

There has been lit­tle in­ter­est in the ground since then and it has now been val­ued at £250,000.

WEGGA was given a twoyear re­new­able lease on two for­mer ten­e­ment sites in nearby Suther­land Street, in 2011.

The Cli­mate Chal­lenge Fund helped pay for 17 raised bed plots for the ben­e­fit of lo­cals.

And WEGGA ob­tained a grant to im­prove and main­tain spa­ces in Brown Street and Un­der­wood Lane two years ago.

Mem­bers worked with the En­vi­ron­men­tal Train­ing Team, Restora­tive Jus­tice Teams and Lin­stone Hous­ing As­so­ci­a­tion to bring the grounds back into use.

It was given 10 tonnes of com­post gath­ered from Ren­frew­shire’s bins by GP Green Re­cy­cling in 2015

Thriv­ing Stu­art MacRae, the Grow­ing Ground’s As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man and, in­set, John Wilby, Pais­ley West and Cen­tral Com­mu­nity Coun­cil chair, left, thanks Stu­art Fraser, GP Green Re­cy­cling’s Tech­ni­cal Ad­viser, for the gift of 10 tonnes of free com­post for WEGGA

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