The initial scheme for replanting the grounds at Bevin Court was developed by Islington Council Landscape Architect, Marc Linton CMLI (Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute). Members of the Bevin Community Gardens group liaised extensively with both Marc and with Trees for Cities, a charity that was drafted into the project to help both fundraise for the project and also to help deliver it.
Residents of Bevin Court & Holford House were consulted via a poster & leafleting campaign outlining the proposals. Trees for Cities also engaged in a door-knocking consultation with residents during November 2010 in which residents were shown the detailed plans and asked for feedback.
The scheme was broken down into 6 areas:
Area 1 – two areas of hedgerow in front of Bevin Court
Area 2 – Main entrance in front of Bevin Court
Area 3 – Woodland around the ramp entrance at Bevin Court and in the small circle viewed from the lobby
Area 4 – Renovation of existing shrub bed along the South (maisonette) wing
Area 5 – Rear of Bevin Court in front of Flats 9-13 and in the fenced area underneath the East Wing
Area 6 – Holford House grounds
The results of the consultation were overwhelmingly positive with
- 100% of respondents in support of the proposals for Area 1,
- 92% of respondents in support of the proposals for Area 2,
- 100% in support of the proposals for Area 3,
- 96 % of respondents in support of the proposals for Area 5.
Areas 4 & 6 were not specifically polled as they were renovations of existing areas. Instead, residents opinions were asked what sort of plants they would like to be included in the new planting.
There was unanimous support for the inclusion of a hedgerow around the front areas of the estate. Many residents consulted were unhappy with the level of dog mess in the front of the estate and around the estate in general, with many residents commenting that the offenders were from outside the estate. Some residents were also concerned with children playing football on the lawns at the front of the estate and wanted to encourage them to use Holford Gardens at the rear of the estate instead.
Several residents were also keen to see birds encouraged on the estate. There was strong support for the introduction of a greater variety for types and sizes of plants around the state, with several comments along the lines of “Enough trees! Can we get some colourful plants & flowers, please?”
A few residents were concerned that additional planting at the rear, ramp entrance of the estate (Areas 3 &4) could contribute to existing anti-social behaviour in the area. In response to these concerns, Islington Council installed a new, higher fence around the woodland area (Area 3) and renewed the lighting along the path by the maisonette wing. Islington Council continues to monitor this area in cooperation with Bevin Community Gardens and the Bevin Court Tenants’ & Residents’ Association.
Finally, more than a few residents were worried about squirrels ruining the planting. That’s one we are still working on!