Published: 25 November, 2011
IT was billed as a Ground Force-style makeover aimed at transforming neglected patches of land on a Westminster estate into pretty flower gardens.
But a scheme backed by estate managers CityWest Homes and coffee giant Starbucks has been blasted by some residents for leaving in its wake a trail of dead plants and weeds.
The Churchill Gardens estate in Pimlico was the target for the green-fingered project in April, when shrubs were planted and free coffee, tea and cakes given to residents.
Chairman of the Churchill Gardens Lessees’ Association Richard Beville has claimed the gardens are “overgrown” with weeds as they have “not been properly maintained”.
“It’s been neglected,” he said. “I’d like to see Starbucks come in and do some work on it. There has been no follow-up.”
And architect Tom Ball, a committee member of amenity group the Thorney Island Society who has lived on the estate for 35 years, said: “It’s a mess. A lot of the plants died but no one was really interested. What we have as a result is a bed of weeds, far worse than it was before.”
However, others praised the gardening exercise, which was part of a national youth programme aimed at getting young people involved in the community.
Sue Walsh, who chairs the Churchill Gardens Estate Residents’ Association, said: “As we are now in winter, the gardens look how you might expect any garden to look during the winter months. It was a lovely day, and everyone enjoyed it.”
CityWest Homes said the gardening event was a “one off” and that the maintenance of the plants was the responsibility of residents as the plots were not part of its contract.
A Starbucks spokeswoman said : “The purpose of this one-off provision of community support was to show young people how quickly they could effect positive change in the community by refreshing the privately owned residents’ gardens.
Many of the other community projects are still benefiting from the work completed on that day by young people and Starbucks employees. This includes children at the nearby St Barnabas C of E primary who are still enjoying their brightly painted mural in the playground.”