St John’s Close is a social housing development from the early 1900s with 28 houses in a horseshoe shape around a central area of open land, mostly allotments. As there is no running water at the allotments, and no sheds are permitted, most of the allotments are tenanted by local residents. In February 2019 the Town Council agreed to a request by the St John’s Close Residents’ Association (SJRA) to create a Community Garden on an untenanted plot.
Initial plans were to create a flat area of lawn, to allow for outdoor games and socialising with one end to have some beds with vegetables, flowers and shrubs for all round colour and ‘free’ food as well as a seating area to encourage contemplation, conversation and community. The garden is for use by people walking through the Close as well as local residents.
To further enhance the area and provide a much needed source of water, SIRA developed and implemented a proposal to repaint a group of eight garages next to the plot and install an rain harvesting system. Garages owners funded materials, and the SJRA provided the labour with support from Travis Perkins.