Community garden meeting

Kirriemuir Rotarians Jim Millar (left) and Bill Keillor look over proposals at one of the locations next to the Health Centre, for the Kirriemuir Garden Project. The project will be discussed at a public meeting on Thursday.'
Kirriemuir Rotarians Jim Millar (left) and Bill Keillor look over proposals at one of the locations next to the Health Centre, for the Kirriemuir Garden Project. The project will be discussed at a public meeting on Thursday.'

KIRRIEMUIR Rotary Club is holding a meeting in the Lesser Town Hall on Thursday evening in an attempt to gauge interest in their plans for two community gardens in the centre of Kirriemuir.

The use of the two pieces of redundant land in the town will be discussed at the meeting, which begins at 7.30 p.m., although one site next to the health centre has unearthed a possible stumbling block for the club’s plans to commemorate its 50th anniversary.

It has emerged another community organisation - the Kirriemuir Allotment Group - had hoped to reinstate the site as allotments and had put forward their plans to Angus Council. A spokesperson for the allotment group has stressed they support the Rotary Club in their 50th anniversary project, and recognise their valuable contribution to the local community.

The Rotary Club, in conjunction with the Kirriemuir Health Centre and Angus Council, identified land next to the health centre and a walled garden at Rosefield Street as being sites with potential to be community gardens.

The land at the health centre has been idle for many years, with one person using it as an allotment. Earlier this year the council gave the Rotary Club the green light to consider developing this into a garden facility for the use of the whole community in Kirriemuir.

Rotarian Keith Hopkins said: “A plan was put to the council, which agreed this would be an improvement on the current use of the land, and after discussion with councillors it was agreed to proceed. We employed an experienced garden designer, Inglis Thorburn, to give some ideas of what the area of ground could look like. The landscaping of the sites has been looked at closely and the proposals are very exciting. We discussed this with the health centre which confirmed the potential health benefits to all those who could use it. The ideas for this site will be discussed at the open public meeting organised by the Rotary Club and hopefully there will be enough support from the public to set up a steering committee which will consider all ideas, cost them, raise the finance and be in control of the project. Rotary’s input was to get the idea started and after two years of consultation this looks as though it will come to fruition.”

The original idea came from a meeting when the Rotary Club, in celebrating its 50th year in Kirriemuir, approached the health centre to identify a project which would benefit as many people’s health in Kirriemuir as possible and be lasting and sustainable.

Keith concluded: “We envisage setting up a steering committee which will decide what should happen at both sites and then seeing it through to completion. Then there will be an official group set up, like a trust, to run the projects. This would mean looking after the sites physically and maintaining them. Those who will benefit most will include the young and old, those interested in gardening and those who will benefit from the peace and tranquillity of the gardens. Basically – everyone!”

Members of the public of Kirriemuir are asked to go along tomorrow evening and express their support and enthusiasm for the projects. There will be plenty of time to ask questions and give other ideas. If there is a lack of support then the projects will not go ahead.

A spokesperson for the Kirriemuir Allotment Group commented: “We believe both projects can be successful. The group feels Angus Council has allowed the land to be ‘run down’ over the past few years and not actively helped residents to take on allotments. The allotment group has spent the last six weeks asking the local community their views on the current allotment site and has been overwhelmed with the amount of support to preserve the allotments on this site. We are aware the Rotary Club has a public consultation meeting regarding their plans to develop a community garden on two sites and we intend to attend this meeting to peacefully oppose any development on the Tannage Brae allotment site. We will also note our full support of the Rotary Club plans for their garden at Rosefield site. Angus Council asked if the group would consider an alternative site and we feel there would be nowhere within the Kirriemuir area that would be suitable for an allotment. The current allotment site is a very important part of Kirriemuir’s heritage and if lost could never be replaced.”

A spokesperson for Angus Council said: “Angus Council, Kirriemuir Rotary Club and the Kirriemuir Community Allotment Group are working together to ensure that both groups achieve their wishes, for the benefit of the whole community. “We understand that the Rotary Club is shortly holding consultations with the wider community about their vision for a community garden in the centre of Kirriemuir, and we await the outcome of that discussion with interest. The council will continue to support all community effort to improve Kirriemuir.”

l See readers’ letters on page 27 for further comment.