Wildflower turf will soon replace weeds

Councillor David Donaldson, left, and Adur Council parks and foreshore manager Andy Edwards in final discussions on the planting
Councillor David Donaldson, left, and Adur Council parks and foreshore manager Andy Edwards in final discussions on the planting

RESIDENTS concerned about an overgrown patch in Southwick have been told it will soon be improved.

Funding has been in place for some time but this year’s weather has delayed planting of the planned wildflower turf.

Calls for action on the controversial patch, an island outside Southwick railway station, have come from various residents since the recent launch of Southwick Together.

David Donaldson, one of two Adur district councillors for Eastbrook, questioned the steering committee’s decision to highlight the area in a photograph in the Herald on October 9.

“It is surprising that so much attention has been publicly directed to this area by the steering committee and such a photo event organised, as I attended the inaugural meeting and explained fully to the committee why the weeds were present,” he said.

“It is worth remembering though, that a weed is simply a wild plant growing where it is not wanted.”

He said the photograph appeared ‘dynamic and emphatic’, but he felt it did not represent the true situation.

The plan is to cover the island, and an area of Fishersgate Recreation Ground, with wildflower turf. Mr Donaldson and fellow Eastbrook councillor Jim Funnell obtained £5,000 ‘from a generous outside source’ to cover the rejuvenation of these areas, and others in Southwick.

“Unfortunately, although the funds were obtained very early in the year, with the intention of spring planting, the dry weather, including one of the driest Septembers ever recorded, has prevented the turf being laid – it would not have survived,” explained Mr Donaldson.

“Now that the weather has broken, work will commence almost immediately to eradicate the weeds and lay the turf. This type of turf requires cutting only once a year.”

When the layout of the railway station parking area was altered four years ago, dozens of box tree cuttings were planted but they did not survive the first weekend.

Mr Donaldson pointed out the council had spent ‘tens of thousands’ repairing canopies in Southwick Square, considerable sums on Fishersgate Community Centre and refurbishing council flats in Fishersgate, and allocated £75,000 for the play area on Southwick Green, with a similar sum proposed for Fishersgate.