Home | Friday 18th June 2010 | Issue 727
The Lewes Road Community Garden, which occupied the long-disused land of an ex-Esso garage in Brighton in May 2009, is under threat of eviction as plans push ahead to stick an unwanted Tescos on the site. Supporters have vowed to defend it to the last against Tesco, and there is a public meeting tonight (18th) and demo outside Brighton County Court on Monday.
Developers, Belfast-based Alburn Ltd, acting on behalf of Tesco and a betting shop also planned, want the gardeners turfed off and have applied for Monday’s possession order.
However it’s been discovered that covenants for the land state that no alcohol should be sold there and no building erected. So that’s a spanner in the works for Sir Terry ‘couldn’t give a fuck about your community’ Leahy, Tesco fat cat boss. Terry and his merry men are rumoured to have put a clause in the planning permission saying that they won’t be liable for any subsidence to homes in nearby Edinburgh Road which makes the whole application look, well erm… shaky.
Meanwhile Brighton Council planners have been put in the frame for getting the original planning permission through on the sly last August when sympathetic councillors were away and consultation letters sent to empty student houses.
But gardeners and local residents - 3,500+ of whom have signed petitions supporting the garden - are keen to play up the positive aspects of the project: a community compost scheme; ‘plant up a pot’ project for local school-kids; Sunday eco-fayres; gardening workshops; film nights etc etc…
One garden gnome told SchNEWS: “I thought the council were supposed to be doing this sort of thing - supporting urban green spaces in the city, especially in one of the most congested roads in the city. Didn’t Mary Mears [Tory council leader] come out and say she didn’t want a clone town of Tesco and Sainsburys. Put your money where yer mouth is Mary.”
Caroline Lucas MP, last seen departing the European gravy train and moving to a new stop at Westminster, is supposed to be putting the gardeners’ case to the higher powers in parliament, but the hardy perennials (that’s gardeners to you and me) say they’ll continue to get their own hands dirty (literally) and not rely on empty promises from politicians of any persuasion.
* Save the Lewes Road Community Garden! Say No to Tesco! Public meeting, 7pm, June 18th, St Martin’s Church Hall, Lewes Road
* Demo at 9am on Monday 21 June at Brighton County Court, William St, (just down from Magistrates Court) Brighton