Southwick gardens look set for face lift

OVERGROWN gardens that have faced vandalism and neglect look set for a face lift.

Residents have been calling for action at the Croft Avenue Rest Gardens since 2011, as the gardens had become run down and strewn with litter.

Adur Council is now considering a £14,500 improvement project, largely funded through the Veolia Environmental Trust.

Cllr Keith Dollemore, cabinet member for the environment, is considering a report from Sarah Gobey, executive head of financial services, which recommends a new scheme, Improvements to Croft Avenue Rest Garden, be approved.

The proposal is to add it to the capital programme, funded through a £12,850 grant from Veolia and a £1,650 revenue contribution from existing budgets.

Mrs Gobey said: “Local residents identified the need for an improvement project in 2011, as the gardens had become very run down, overgrown, untidy and dirty with litter and vandalism problems.

“The residents began by organising a site meeting for the local community and asking for comments, identifying the problems and obtaining future ideas for the garden.”

Early support quickly grew and a community group was formed with residents, shop owners, Shoreham Academy, councillors and Sussex Police.

Following a survey in Croft Avenue and Southwick Street, a diamond jubilee garden party was held last summer to launch the Southwick Square Gardens Project, attended by more than 100 adults and children.

As well as planning meetings since then, there was a tea and cake sale where plans for the garden were displayed and discussed.

Mrs Gobey added: “Since then, the group has twice failed to raise funding through the Pot of Gold scheme, but local councillors have continued to support the project and asked the parks team to help them achieve their goals.”

The Southwick Society has offered a small grant and local businesses have been supportive, including a grant from Grove Lodge Veterinary Group, in Southwick Street.

With the help of Clive Bramble, Adur Council’s parks manager, the group sought funding through Veolia earlier this year.

The grant, one of 42 awarded through the trust’s Landfill Communities Fund in October, will be used to create a new entrance and fund path repairs, planting and tree pruning.

The idea is to make the gardens more attractive and colourful, and open up the area, while ensuring the gardens are in keeping with their history.

Paul Taylor, executive director of the Veolia Environmental Trust, said: “This grant is a great example of how the trust and the Landfill Communities Fund make a real difference to communities of all types across the UK. Every project is important to us and we look forward to seeing work start and the garden improvements take shape.”

Veolia’s project manager will work with the project team to ensure work can start as soon as possible.

John Colwill, project chairman, said: “This is great news for our project. The grant is very welcome and we look forward to working with the trust team to ensure our plans become real and benefit the people of Southwick.”