Market Parade and the Boys Brigade Gardens.
Back in May Councillor Tim Pike approached HCS to consider taking on the voluntary management of some additional green spaces in the town centre. The Market Parade planting area (and two planting areas in front of the station) and the Boys Brigade Gardens had become neglected after a previous voluntary arrangement had come to an end. There had even been a formal complaint about the Market Parade flowerbed which is one of the first sights that visitors see when they get off the train. If HCS didn’t take action the beds would be assigned to Norse for minimal maintenance – they could have been subjected to a dispiriting begonia attack, or nothing at all for many months.
We got straight on to our small sister organisation, Grove Conservation Group, who do such a good job of managing the fauna and flora habitats on the Hayling Billy Line at the junction of Grove Road and Lower Grove Road. Walkers on the Hayling Billy will have noticed the little meadow there that has attracted so many insects and butterfly species this summer. After discussions on the best way forward a small group of 5 volunteers planted up the Market Parade flowerbeds with a temporary planting of colourful annuals for the summer season. It looks better already. We have asked Norse to undertake watering, and we plan to develop the planting with a perennial planting programme in November. That will include plants that are attractive to both visitors and pollinators.
The Boys Brigade Gardens on the corner of West St and Park Rd South is a lovely oasis full of, and surrounded by, mature trees including some fruit trees. The gardens attract birds and insects because the stream runs through them. We haven’t started working on the Boys Brigade Gardens yet but suggested changes include some unmown areas for insect habitat, bird nesting boxes, and managing a balance between food flora that encourages birds and insects (that could include small areas of nettles for butterflies, and thistles for pollinators) and the shrubs and trees that make the gardens a cool town-centre haven.
To achieve all this we need extra hands on volunteers who can spare a couple of hours now and then to work with the existing volunteer group in upgrading these two sites. Sign up at the forthcoming public meeting.
A Green Spaces map.
Havant is full of small areas that have been noticed by local residents and are being improved for the benefit of humans and wildlife – we are soon going to establish a map that identifies areas that are already being sympathetically managed and others that need attention. Let us know if you are already taking care of some small area and we will add you to the map.
44-54 West St.
One of the town centre sites that has been an eyesore for a long time is the area of West St precinct opposite the Nat West bank that is covered with hoardings (nos 44-54). These hoardings have now been in place for over 12 years! Having failed to sell at auction the site has now sunk back down the Borough Council’s list of priorities. HCS thinks that, because of continuing neglect by the owners, the area should be converted from an eyesore into a small community garden with a footpath through to the bus station (an alternative to the gloomy brick corridor that is Trafalgar Walk). Would local residents be in favour of this idea? We would need public support to get HBC to make it happen, and some volunteers to help do the work, but it could be so much nicer than what’s there now! Havant town residents deserve a nicer environment – it’s long overdue.
Havant Tree Trail.
Finally a quick word about the proposed Havant Tree Trail. We were impressed with the glossy Emsworth Tree Trail Book produced by the Havant Borough Tree Wardens and would eventually like to replicate their efforts in the town. This goal is moving slowly forward with meetings between Bob Comlay, current HCS Chair, the Havant Borough Tree Wardens local Tree Wardens and representatives of the Friends of Havant Cemeteries.
The first step is to conduct a survey of the trees within the wider town area. And HBTW are close to completing the first survey of the fine collectionm of trees in the New Lane / Eastern Road cemeteries. The Havant Tree Warden, Rob Foord, is now leading the survey effort in Havant Park, with the active involvement of HCS members. Our plan is to have a Tree Trail designed and developed for Havant Park, both as a printed leaflet and as an interactive digital version. This is very much a work in progress at an early stage, but at some point you can expect to see some of the more significant trees in the park labelled with QR codes to scan on your mobile device.
At some stage there’ll be a survey of town centre trees and we’ll want people to alert us to favourite or unusual trees that they know of. Sign up for the survey at the forthcoming public meeting. The Tree Trail project has its own link on the HCS website so you can keep up to date with progress.
West Street, Havant