Return of Lewes pre-school’s garden is priority

Liz Allsobrook at Malling Community Centre
Liz Allsobrook at Malling Community Centre

A call has been made for a community space to be provided on wasteland adjacent to Malling Community Centre in Lewes.

The land has recently been cleared following complaints from local residents and users of the centre.

Following a public meeting, the owner of the site – Lewes Town Council – has been asked to create a community garden where trees and shrubs, generously offered by local residents, can be planted.

Supporters say the project would also be an opportunity for local Scouts and community groups to participate in maintenance and planting.And provision will also need to be made for the replacement of South Malling Pre-School garden, which was removed when the site was cleared.

“The pre-school garden must now be a priority as provision of outdoor space is a requirement for the services the council delivers,” said Liz Allsobrook, Chairman of Malling Community Association and Lib Dem candidate in the town council’s forthcoming Bridge Ward by-election on October 17.

She said it was important that the children should once again be able to use the site.

“The community garden project must also go ahead promptly and must not be sidelined by the council’s long-delayed plans for refurbishing Malling Community Centre,” she said. “This neglected piece of land at the northern end of Malling Recreation Ground was a problem for years, encouraging anti-social behaviour including alcohol and drug use, vandalism to the building and disturbance to residents neighbouring the land.

“The surrounding community are requesting it is brought back into a space the community can use and not left to become unusable again.”

Lewes District and Town councillor for Bridge Ward John Stockdale said: “The original intention, when it was landscaped, was for this substantial piece of land to be used as a five-a-side football pitch.

“But it was never used for its intended purpose and we believe a community garden and this use by South Malling Pre-School would be an excellent alternative.”

Next month’s by-election has been called following the resignations for personal reasons of Matt Kent and Petrina Kingham.