Community garden all set to blossom
Volunteers aim to take over old nursery site
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