Community allotments in Canning Town to be turned into block of flats

The allotment at St Luke's Business Centre.

The allotment at St Luke's Business Centre. - Credit: Archant

Allotments that help to rehabilitate vulnerable people are set to be replaced by a block of flats after the land was bought up by a housing association.

The allotment at St Luke's Business Centre.

The allotment at St Luke's Business Centre. - Credit: Archant

Formerly owned by the Diocese of Chelmsford, this plot of land at the back of St Luke’s Business Centre on Tarling Road, Canning Town, laid derelict for a decade until a small charity called Parkside Gardening thought of a use for it.

The plot of land before Parkside Gardening turn it into allotments.

The plot of land before Parkside Gardening turn it into allotments. - Credit: Archant

The organisation, which helps to rehabilitate people with mental health problems, worked together with architecture students from the University of East London, local businesses, and residents to gain the support of the Custom House and Canning Town Community Renewal Project who run St Luke’s to turn the neglected area into a small food-growing project for its service users.

Since then, other small organisations have joined them including a youth group from the centre, and the Asian Women’s Refuge and they now have nine raised beds shared between them to grow vegetables, fruit, and flowers.

But two years ago, the volunteers heard that the Diocese had sold the land and housing association Sanctuary Housing has plans to build a block of 56 flats on it - but they hope to compromise with the groups.


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Sara Watson, project manager of Parkside Gardening, said: “We know we don’t own the land and it was probably inevitable that it would be turned into something else.

“But we’ve worked so hard on it and it will decimate the wildlife, we have woodpeckers and thrushes that visit every day.

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“We just feel that a piece of public amenity land is being sold off and our achievement was never really taken into account.”

Janet Mussington, local Head of Development for Sanctuary, said: “We do understand that a lot of work went into these plots and are very keen to meet with Parkside Gardening and the Canning Town Community Renewal Project to talk through possibilities for the raised beds and agree a way forward.

“We offered to discuss potential solutions with these groups in the lead up to the construction work and our offer very much still stands, so we would encourage representatives to contact us directly.”

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