A £50,000 community garden project is in jeopardy of collapsing after a town council rejected proposals on how to spend the money.
Attempts were made as far back as the start of the year to get the project off the floor when Haverfordwest Town Council won a £50,000 Heritage Lottery Fund in March.
However this is all in jeopardy after proposals for what the money would be spent on were rejected by the council at a full meeting on Thursday, June 23.
The team behind the project - which include ex-councillors Stella Hooper and Chris Evans – put together proposals for how the funds could be spent, with over £19,000 proposed to be dished out on, among other facilities, a polytunnel and a composting toilet.
However the council voted down the proposals five to four in a move that could jeopardise the whole scheme.
What is the community garden?
Haverfordwest Town Council won a grant worth just under £50,000 from Heritage Lottery Fund’s Local Places for Nature scheme with a project to build a community garden in Haverfordwest.
The proposed location of the site is between Freemans Way and Cambrian Place on a plot of land where an electricity sub-station used to stand. The council has rented the land on a five-year £1,250 lease (not included in the grant funding).
The team behind the project wanted to put a polytunnel on the site, at a cost of £3,390; a composting disabled toilet, at a cost of £2540; a garden room/office, at a cost of £11,833; and composting bins, at a cost of £969.
Former chair of the steering group for the garden says the decisions made on Thursday evening have thrown the whole project into jeopardy, with just six months left to get the garden up and running.
Ms Hooper also said the debacle this venture has turned into could put at risk future attempts by the council to win grants from the Lottery.
Concerns have been raised by the council about who will manage the garden and maintenance costs.
On Thursday night the council proposed that a Community Interest Company (CIC) be formed to give clarity on who runs the garden.
Councillors were also concerned about the lack of town councillors on the steering group with deputy mayor Jill Owens describing it as a ‘runaway train’, while Cllr Martin Lewis summed up the whole project by saying it was a ‘field of dreams’.
What is a Community Interest Company?
A Community Interest Company (CIC) is a limited company created for the use of people who want to conduct a business or other activity for community benefit, not purely private advantage.
The project has a time limit set on it of one year, with the deadline for completion being March 31, 2023. The money will be released in stages with the council currently sitting on just under £25,000 of funds to be spent on the first phase. If the project isn’t completed by the deadline the money has to be given back.
What do you think about the idea to build a community garden in Haverfordwest? Is it a good use of resources? What would you like to see the money spent on? Where would you like to see the garden? What would you like to see in the garden? Let us know any of your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook page.