On Thursday evening Rob (Depurty Contracts Representative) went to a meeting on the St. Martin’s Estate (just over the south circular road). It was organised by their TRA with the aim of improving the appearance of the estate by both increasing the amount of greenery and reducing the incidence of dumping. The evening started with a walk around the estate and finished with a meeting in one of their four community halls – the scout hut.
As well as residents, TRA representatives, a councillor (Mary Atkins) and representatives from the housing association, there were people from Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses, Father Nature, the Open Orchard Project and New Leaf Education Gardens. These four organisations had been invited onto the estate in order to generate ideas, offer expertise and give guidance on costs. The people from these organisations were bursting with great ideas from ways to transform neglected areas by introducing greenery and obstructing dumping:
- Scented climbers on bin stores – ‘fragrant fences’
- Dropping trees into tree-planting holes
- Planters on railings
- Chicken wire and climbers to block stairwell dumping zones
- Turning a large dead tree into a totem pole/sculpture
- Researching local history (the example of Baytree Close was given – where some of the country’s best bay leaves used to be grown)
St. Martin’s are having a launch party on 6th August for something that they are calling ‘St. Martin’s Together’. At this event they will be consulting the residents about what the residents would like to do. The organisations listed above are going to have a stall throughout the event presenting their ideas and photos of their previous projects. The TRA will have a map onto which residents can stick post-it notes with their ideas.
The organisations were also asked to come up with costings for some project ideas, so that the TRA could then look into getting funding. Possible funding sources included Tesco (Bags of Fun), the National Lottery (Awards for All) and the London Mayor’s pocket parks scheme. It was noted that clearing up fly-tipping costs the estate £50k per year, so, if dumping was reduced, significant cost savings could be made. It was recognised that now isn’t the ideal time to be planting many plants, particularly trees, so the actual planting is planned to begin from this winter.
Rob found the evening inspiring and comments that the meeting looked like a very promising start to a project that could improve the environment of the St. Martin’s Estate and something that we could emulate in the future.