Butt Lane residents angered at disturbance of their peace

Reg Mitch Peace GardenResidents in Butt Lane who came together to turn a derelict parcel of land in the centre of their town into a Peace Garden in honour of local hero Reginald Mitchell have been left angered and shocked by the owners decision to put the land on the market weeks after work on the project saw benches and flower beds installed.

The sudden announcement of the sale is being considered by many as a cynical attempt to cash in on the goodwill of the community by the owners of the land, advertising giants JC Decaux, who have put it up for sale at auction to be held on16th October with a guide price of £35,000, leaving all those who have committed their time and money extremely disappointed.

Community minded residents and local business owners worked hard to pull the project together to turn the land on the junction of Cedar Avenue and Congleton Road into a Peace Garden for the whole community to enjoy, the community Christmas tree is also usually sited there. The corner plot had become an eyesore in the centre of Butt Lane until Scott Donaldson at Scott’s Barbers, Michelle Matthias at Onesure Insurance, Tesco Kidsgrove and Cllr Sylvia Dymond, spearheaded by Cllr Kyle Robinson and supported by many residents all worked together to make the project happen. On the recent progress Cllr Robinson said: “Together the community worked to turn this run down space on a busy junction into a memorial garden that everyone in the community can enjoy. So many people have commented that the garden has brightened up Butt Lane and made a real difference. There is so much more planned for the future.” These plans included a Reginald Mitchell mural, new paving, disability access and a Christmas light switch on with mince pies and carols.

Congleton Road 3Permission to transform the space took nearly two years of negotiations and an agreement to allow residents to run and maintain it in return for a peppercorn rent was agreed last summer. Work began shortly after clearing the site and installing planters and benches. But the sale of the land will leave the future of the Peace Garden uncertain as the sales particulars state that “The site may offer potential for a variety of different uses, subject to obtaining any necessary consents.”Pleas to the French based company JC Decaux to postpone or defer the sale so options for community funding can be explored have fallen on deaf ears. Now Cllr Robinson has organised a petition in an effort to save the Peace Garden, he said “Advertising company JCDecaux has announced the intention to sell land which the company owns on Cedar Avenue/Congleton Road. The guide price is £35,000.   The community has a license agreement with JCDecaux to create and maintain

‘The Reginald Mitchell Memorial Garden’ on the piece of land. The garden is much loved by the community and many community organisations and businesses have been involved to make it a success. The community has worked particularly hard to clean up this space as it was previously poorly maintained by JCDecaux.  JCDecaux’s Corporate Responsibility statement says: “Corporate Responsibility is important to JCDecaux. We put this responsibility into effect through :Sustainable development and the implementation of initiatives to reduce our energy consumption and environmental impact.”  

We call on JCDecaux to halt the sale of land on Cedar Avenue/Congleton Road and continue to honour the agreement with the community to protect the Reginald Mitchell Memorial Garden.”

Details of the petition can be found at: https://www.change.org/p/jcdecaux-save-the-reginald-mitchell-memorial-garden

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