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.
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.”
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!”