Garden project transforms neglected corner of Devizes

This Is Wiltshire: Residents and community garden committee members in front of their Waiblingen Way garden, Darren Pickford, Richard Arnold, mayor Sarah Bridewell, Sue Bryant, Carol Pickford, Val King, Coun Jane Burton and committee chairman Ray Snell Residents and community garden committee members in front of their Waiblingen Way garden, Darren Pickford, Richard Arnold, mayor Sarah Bridewell, Sue Bryant, Carol Pickford, Val King, Coun Jane Burton and committee chairman Ray Snell

A patch of grass that was an eyesore and a place where used drug needles were often left have been turned into a thriving community garden.

Waiblingen Way in Devizes had been blighted by a reputation for anti-social behaviour and crime but the residents’ association decided to improve the area.

It launched a community garden project with the help of Aster, which owns many of the homes on the estate.

Two years later, the efforts of the residents who maintain the project have been recognised after it came second in the better neighbourhoods category of the National Housing Federation’s annual Community Impact Awards.

Ray Snell, 76, treasurer of the Waiblingen Way Residents’ Association, said: “It used to be a pretty unsavoury place. There was dog fouling and drug needles were left behind.

"We have gradually been clearing the estate up and the local housing association got on board.”

The community garden has a number of raised beds that were put in by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and members of the association plant and tend the vegetables, which residents on the estate can help themselves to. Vegetables grown there include potatoes, onions, runner beans and radishes.

Next year the association is looking forward to crops from the apple and plum trees that have been planted.

Last week the association took delivery of a summer house it had been saving up for for the past five years. Aster installed the base in for the summer house.

Devizes mayor Sarah Bridewell visited the community garden and said: “I think it’s fantastic. The residents’ association has worked tirelessly.”

Richard Arnold, 65, a member of the residents’ association’s committee, said: “I’m really pleased at what we have achieved and we were really made up at our success in the National Housing Federation awards. It was the culmination of our efforts, but we haven’t finished yet.”

Members of the association cut the grass in the community garden as well as other residents’ gardens and communal areas using their own lawnmowers and the association would like to buy a ride-on lawnmower to make it easier.

The association would like to hear from organisations who may no longer need a ride-on lawnmower that is in good condition.

For more details, contact Richard Arnold on (01380) 728556.

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