West Street Community Garden is On it’s Way!

west st graden 1
Wyndham and Westover Councillors join Tony Freeman as the first pick-axe digs into the surface to start work on the West Street community garden.

Residents of West Street will have noticed some work going on next to the shops. Finally the first stones are being upturned to start what will be the long awaited Community Garden, the brainchild of Neighbourhood Beat Manager Constable Tony ‘Tex’ Freeman.

The idea for a community garden in West Street came up in 2010 when all of West street was part of the old Quantock Ward which stretched from the traffic lights out to Durleigh and a ward grant was supported at the Town Council Finance meeting of 18th February 2010. Since May 2011, however, most of West Street came under the newly created Westover Ward with a dividing line on the North side of the street running down the middle of the Canal and therefore right down the middle of the new community garden. So at it’s launch councillors from Westover, Brian Smedley and Pat Parker joined former Quantock ward councillors, Gill Slocombe and David Baker ,who now represent the newly created Wyndham ward.

gill and tony
Cllr Gill Slocombe whose Town Council ward grant gave the project a boost in 2010.

Cllr Gill Slocombe (Wyndham), who was involved from the outset, said “The idea came up as a result of one of our walkabouts. The area suffered from anti-social behaviour and neglect so we wanted to enhance it to bring it into community use so we allocated our whole ward grant for 2010 for it.”

A Long Fight for Funding

Constable Freeman, who had the idea for the original project  was already trying to bring it to reality and with the council money under his belt he spent the next few years fighting for extra funding until finally the budget stacked up and he could guarantee a result.

Constable Freeman said “I want to give the community a free garden and I’ve battled to get this project on track. A lot of different authorities are involved, such as the Canal and Rivers Trust , the Town Council , the Police and the Showman’s Guild. The work is being done by Dave Howe of Samson Howe Landscaping and Construction and it will have a canal theme to it with mock lock gates, flower beds and adjustments to the walls with a small fence.”

tony and pat
Westover ward councillor Pat Parker acknowledges the key role played by Constable Tony Freeman in giving something to the West Street community.

The design will also include a mural by local schoolchildren on the theme of Bridgwater Fair

Cllr Pat Parker (Westover) said “This will be something for all the residents of West street and the Town Council has backed it all along. All ward councillors have pulled together to support this but we are especially grateful to Constable Freeman for doggedly pursuing his goal.”

Constable Freeman said “Actually, I’m chuffed to bits that it’s going to happen and at the moment I’m buzzing!”

 

7 comments

  1. titanic

    Thank you for all the comments about the communal gardens,i have lived in west street for 40 years and have seen it decline.Ihope this garden does work and good luck to PC Freeman,perhaps we will see more of him now,also its now lovely to have Labour councillors back in this ward.Regards Titanic & Captain Smith.

  2. Bob Abbott

    As Chairman of the local branch of the Inland Waterways Association we are delighted to see what Tony has eventually achieved. I know when we met he felt he was hitting brick walls, now he literally is!

    Well done Tony, with efforts like this we can achieve much more along this beautiful canal for the benefit of the community!

  3. Tonytex3830

    Thank you Titanic for your negative comments, which do not reflect the majority of residents I have spoken too. If we sit and moan nothing happens and we go with out. After hearing for many years how nice the area was, I wanted to try and improve it and make a difference. The idea is to show that good things can be done, yes it takes a lot of hard work and time. The idea is that the residents use and own this area, if it is used by the residents it will deter the wrong people from being there, if we all took a negative attitude then we would not have anything nice. I would also like to point out that we (Police And Sedgemoor Council) made this a non drinking area 2 years ago, so we already have a handy tool in place to deal with issues. We have flats overlooking the area, a CCTV camera over the road, so it is hoped any unwanted behaviour will be reported immediately. I am really excited about the garden and can’t wait to see residents enjoying it

  4. afrikanart

    I haven’t lived in the area long but two observations:
    1) there are flats all around this area with little or no garden space;
    2) the previous seated space by the shops was already regularly used by local residents.

    How much nicer to be able to sit in a landscaped garden area.
    Down with you Mr or Ms. Titanic….

  5. Brian SmedleyBrian Smedley Post author

    On the other hand it might turn out to be a pleasant communal space if people take care of it and appreciate it….don’t make us dig it up again……

    1. brown123

      I agree wholeheartedly.
      I live in the area and would like to thank Constable Freeman and others for all they have done to make this happen. It’s a great opportunity for the neighbourhood, and will transform West Street.
      ‘Titanic’ should be ashamed at posting such a negative comment after all the hard work that’s been done on their behalf.

  6. titanic

    this garden in west street what a waste of money,not many residents wanted this as it will be used by all kinds of low life.