Community fruit garden plan for Northdown Park

The planned fruit garden area and Scott Manclark (inset)

A Palm Bay dad- of-two has put forward plans to redevelop a neglected area of Northdown Park to create a community fruit garden.

Scott Manclark, who is a volunteer with the Palm Bay and Northdown Community Group,  says the aim is to improve the park and provide something for residents.

He said: “This project will bring much needed regeneration to this neglected area of the park.

“The hope is that it will attract additional wildlife and it will bring the community together who will be helping to create the garden.

“Bringing the community together is one of my main goals along with improving the park for all to enjoy.”

Scott’s idea has been taken up by local councillors, including Cllr Barry Manners and Cllr Kevin Pressland.

Kevin is a horticulturalist and environmentalist and has put together a plan for the former play area near the pavilion and current play site.

It’s hoped that work will begin within the next two weeks, with help from volunteers and funding from local community grants and the Friends of Botany Bay CIC using proceeds from their annual fundraising dinner reserves.

Cllr Manners, who is a director of the Botany Bay  CIC, hopes work can be green-lighted by Thanet council imminently.

He said:  “We’ve had an extremely constructive and positive meeting with TDC open space officers to look at how we can harness the commitment and enthusiasm of the community to improve the park.

“Kevin Pressland has prepared a detailed plan and we’re now waiting for the final nod from TDC. Subject to their consent, we hope to have the area tidied up and planted within weeks.”

Cllr Pressland added: ‘The National Food Strategy produced by Henry Dimbleby in 2021 highlighted the nutritional deprivation within many communities and the need to greatly improve fresh produce availability.

“This proposed plan would enable the public in moderation to forage on fruits whilst enjoying the beauty of the park. A heritage orchard and productive border in Ellington Park has proved positive and shown the public value these initiatives, the more in Thanet the better.’

It is hoped the project can be expanded to include heavy duty planters for community planting with edible and medicinal herbs and a commemorative tree. The space will be routinely maintained by the volunteer teams from the Palm Bay and Northdown Community Group and Friends of Botany Bay CIC.

6 Comments

  1. this will keep the vandals busy then ? these places are never left alone – especially in an area like that

  2. Fruit trees need regular spraying with chemicals to kill pests and produce decent edible fruits that are not infested with maggots. Is that a good idea next to the childrens playground?

    • Rubbish. I know several abandoned orchards where I get free apples, pears and plums every year… in perfect condition.

    • K – chemical free gardening and fruit growing works perfectly well without the use of toxic chemical spraying. It sounds like a great initiative.

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