Concern over bid to build on award-winning garden area

Three Bridges residents concerned that they ma lose their community garden. Mary Grace in the foregound. Pic Steve Robards SR1613396 SUS-160905-172439001
Three Bridges residents concerned that they ma lose their community garden. Mary Grace in the foregound. Pic Steve Robards SR1613396 SUS-160905-172439001

Residents have objected to a bid to build on part of an award-winning community garden.

Crawley Borough Council has received 12 letters of objection to a planning application for a 1.2m by 8.5m strip of the plot to become a driveway and private garden at 27 Forge Road, Three Bridges.

The council agreed to sell the applicant the strip subject to planning permission two years ago.

Mary Grace, of The Birches, has tended the plot, which has won a Crawley in Bloom award, for 12 years. She said bluebells and roses in the garden were removed when the property was extended previously.

She said: “It was council land and they just dug it up and moved it, and this is why everybody is so annoyed about it.

“The community says, ‘Hang on, this is our little bit, let it be beautiful, not ugly’.”

Mrs Grace looks after plants that Three Bridges Forum members have donated to the plot.

She also raised fears gas and water mains under the strip of land could be damaged if the planning bid was approved.

A letter of objection stated: “The change of use for this application would set a precedent for encroachment on to other pieces of amenity land.”

Another claimed: “This is application is a “Trojan Horse” which, at a future date will be used for additional car parking and has nothing to do with the reasons stated for its proposed use.”

One said: “To convert this area into just another driveway, what exists at present is a mess, or lay the foundation for a later application to build on this area would be a backward step for the community.”

The authority registered the application on April 28 having rejected a similar bid in 2015.