New look for town centre garden

A HISTORIC town centre garden is to get the 'Ground Force' treatment to take it back in time and re-establish it as a blossoming oasis.Stowmarket's Red Gables, in Ipswich Road, has scooped a £15,500 grant to restore the grounds to their former glory and boost accessibility.

A HISTORIC town centre garden is to get the 'Garden Force' treatment to take it back in time and re-establish it as a blossoming oasis.

Stowmarket's Red Gables, in Ipswich Road, has scooped a £15,500 grant to restore the grounds to their former glory and boost accessibility.

Work began on Wednesday when a team of 60 volunteers from BT Exact, based at Adastral Park, Ipswich, started the makeover.

The Victorian building is currently occupied by the Mid Suffolk Voluntary Organisation Forum, who purchased the property in 2001 with the help of a National Lottery grant.


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Manager Robert Edwards said: "There's not a facility like this anywhere in Suffolk or Norfolk.

"The garden is a prominent feature in the local street scene. We want to restore it in keeping with its original Victorian layout but, at the same time, create wheelchair access."

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A sensory garden that blind and partially sighted people can enjoy will form the centrepiece of the project, which will be split into eight zones.

Improved pathways, new flowerbeds and a public walkway will also feature.

Cherry Sanford, who is designing the garden, said: "There are plants and features specifically included for people with disabilities, such as aromatic scents, textures, foliage and bright colours designed for people with partial sight."

She added the area is a haven for a number of woodland birds, including goldcrests, treecreepers and blue tits, and work would be done to help them flourish.

Gary Matcham, of BT Exact, said the challenge has been undertaken as a "teambuilding" exercise, following a suggestion from The Experience Corps, an organisation that puts people in touch with voluntary work.

The money for the project has been received as part of a £30million government grant scheme called Living Spaces.

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