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Issue 24
April , 2010
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Reclaiming a derelict site to create a community garden

Source: The Ecologist,ENN, Date: March , 2010

The story of how a group of dissatisfied residents pulled together, got funding, and created a blooming community garden where the work, and the rewards, are shared.

Not far from the 2012 Olympic Village in Stratford, another local regeneration project, albeit on a much smaller scale, has energised a small residential street.

   

For years overgrown with Japanese knotweed and littered with rubbish from flytipping, a derelict site behind a wobbly fence on Bakers Row had been a constant cause of neighbours' frustration.

Tired of looking at it, they pulled together resources, time and effort and in just over three years reclaimed it as a thriving community garden, anchored by an innovative artistic vision of how to weave culture and community into regeneration.

They discovered that the site was protected by English Heritage and owned by the parks department. As a scheduled ancient monument site, it held the remains of the 12th century Langthorne Abbey. While it was protected from commercial development, the upkeep of the site had fallen by the wayside.

As a group, they applied for and won an UnLtd Millennium Award for social entrepreneurs to help create a public communal space. ' The Award allowed them to create a website to generate community interest.

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