Seeds sown for gardens

A PACKED meeting called by the Rotary Club of Kirriemuir has paved the way for two community gardens, estimated to cost in the region of £250,000, for prime sites in the centre of the town.

At what at one point appeared to be a split meeting on Thursday evening - with the Rotary revealing plans for a community garden on a site members of the Kirriemuir Allotment Group had hoped to develop - it quickly became apparent the aims of both groups were similar and that the best way forward was to work together.

The health benefits of getting people out into the fresh air and the aesthetic qualities of the sites were all outlined by Rotarian Keith Hopkins, who chaired the meeting.

With standing room only in the packed Lesser Town Hall, he outlined the history behind the Rotary’s plans to commemorate their 50th anniversary, using the sites identified with help from Kirriemuir Health Centre and Angus Council. One is next to the health centre near the Gairie Burn, the other is a walled garden at Rosefield Street.

He stressed the Rotary had no “hidden agenda” and that the meeting was purely to consult with the people of Kirriemuir to find out what they wanted.

There was some criticism that there had been no consultation with nearby residents for either site, with those living in and around Croft Terrace expressing fears the Gairie site would be “a community garden by day, and a beer garden by night”. Frustration was also expressed by residents who had waited years to be allocated an allotment by Angus Council.

The meeting heard Southmuir and Northmuir Primary Schools and Webster’s High School supported the Rotary’s plans. It was agreed the Gairie site should be developed as a community garden incorporating allotments, and the Rosefield site purely as a community garden. Over 40 expressed an interest in forming a steering group which will now meet to drive the project forward and secure funding.