Chesterfield land plagued by drugs ‘reclaimed’ for community

Volunteers starting work to create a community garden in Boythorpe, Kelly Stevens, Joy Glossop, Calvin Pickering, cllr Keith Miles, Gemma Andrews, Peter Openshaw and Michael Andrews

Volunteers starting work to create a community garden in Boythorpe, Kelly Stevens, Joy Glossop, Calvin Pickering, cllr Keith Miles, Gemma Andrews, Peter Openshaw and Michael Andrews

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Green-fingered activists from a Chesterfield neighbourhood have reclaimed an area of green space that had been plagued by anti-social behaviour.

The waste land - situated between the Tesco Extra and St Augustine’s Church on Derby Road in Boythorpe - was notorious for drug dealing and needles had been found on numerous occasions.

Volunteers clearing thew site for a community garden in Boythorpe, cllr Keith Miles, Peter Openshaw and Michael Andrews

Volunteers clearing thew site for a community garden in Boythorpe, cllr Keith Miles, Peter Openshaw and Michael Andrews

However, the team has transformed the space already and hopes to complete its work after accessing funding early next year.

The leader of the project, borough councillor Keith Miles, said: “The area always looked a bit of a mess and we knew it was used by people who were using and dealing drugs.

“But the space - and the pond in it - is actually an environmental ‘bund’ which is used to collect water to stop the area flooding so we thought why don’t we make something of it and a conservation area seemed perfect.

“We have had about a dozen people from the community helping us, people from Gussie’s Kitchen at the church and some from as far a field as Bolsover as well.”

Keith says the work they have done means that the anti-social behaviour that affected the area is no longer an option and says the space has already attracted wildlife as a result of their efforts.

“There have been a family of ducks in the pond with three chicks and even a kingfisher this summer,” he said.

“And the birds which have been coming through have been dropping seeds so we have got some new water based plants as well.

“Long term we are going to put in benches where people can sit end enjoy the space, a picnic area and a wooden bridge across the pond.”

Community gardening organisation, Groundworks Creswell, will be helping Keith and his team produce a ‘masterplan’ for the project in the next few weeks.

This masterplan must then be given the green light by the church’s diocese before it can be used to access funding from the lottery and organisations like environmental services companies Biffa and Veolia.

The team’s immediate plans are for another tidying up session on the morning of Sunday, September 25.

“We’ve cut all the trees down now so the next thing to do will be to strim a lot of what is left.

“After that we will be starting to plant some new things in there before hopefully completing it next year.

“We hope it will become a real community asset and one which will have been created by the people who live here themselves.”

Anyone who is interested in getting involved in the project, should contact borough councillor Keith Miles on 07969 562404.