Ground force: ‘Under threat’ community gardens to launch joint manifesto

Action plan: Daubeney community gardeners helped draft the manifesto. Photograph: DFF

Three community gardening groups in Hackney are to launch a joint manifesto this weekend which they hope will safeguard the borough’s “much needed shared spaces” from development.

Cordwainers Grow, Dalston Curve and Daubeney Fields Forever all preside over gardens that are “soon to be lost” to new housing – as the council tries to address a 13,000-strong waiting list.

The groups will unveil their manifesto at an event starting at 3pm on Saturday 28 July at Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, ahead of a 20-day online campaign.

The six-point plan includes pledges to map all of Hackney’s community gardens, help set up new ones, and lobby both Hackney Council and the Greater London Authority to designate them as protected spaces.

Kate Poland of Cordwainers Grow, a garden-based social enterprise, said: “Unfortunately, these gardens are increasingly under threat of development because of the enormous pressure to build more housing.

“However, community gardens won’t stop Hackney developing but are a solution to the challenges of its growing population.

“They provide much needed shared space at a time of shrinking private space and we need to protect them for the future wellbeing of all Hackney’s residents.”

The three groups are inviting fellow community gardeners to come to the launch event and sign up to the manifesto to create a “bigger, stronger voice”.

Hope: the groups want shared green spaces to be protected. Photograph: Cordwainers Grow

Poland added: “People may not know about Hackney’s community gardens but there are at least two dozen right across the borough, including the beautiful Dalston Eastern Curve garden, Cordwainers Community Garden and Daubeney Garden, all soon to be lost.

“The gardens are a huge asset to the whole community. They have been shown to improve people’s physical and mental health. They provide informal and safe places for outdoor learning and playing.

“They reduce social isolation by bringing communities together as well as improving the environment through providing habitats and food for wildlife.”

The manifesto launch is one of many events happening across Hackney as the borough celebrates the first ever London National Park City Week.

Daubeney campaigners are currently considering legal action over the council’s recent approval for 11 homes to be built on a site it had loaned to the local community, which used it to create a growing space.

The Town Hall said the move means underused garages and car parking spaces on the land will be replaced with “genuinely affordable” homes.

Hackney Council has not responded to requests for comment on the manifesto.

For more information, and to read the manifesto in full, please visit cordwainersgrow.org.uk



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