Norfolk Square is set to get a makeover as a group of green-fingered residents and an award-winning garden designer team up to regenerate the ‘hostile’ area.
The scheme was the brainchild of Damian Magee who began a crowdfunding page hoping for £2,200 to create a family friendly space.
“This green space is a real gem but it’s got a legacy of being a place that’s underloved so people use it in a disrespectful way,” said primary carer Mr Magee.
“We thought, you know what, everyone should feel welcome here.
“When we first began clearing the space there was ivy, beer bottles, even needles everywhere.”
In recent years Norfolk Square has struggled with anti-social behaviour, crime and even a fatal stabbing in 2012, which drew further bad publicity.
Rob Lynden, a freelance designer, said: “People have written this square off. Nobody wanted much to do with it so we decided to do it ourselves.”
The square lies on the border of Brighton and Hove and Mr Lynden said it had become a black area that nobody wanted to claim responsibility for.
“It’s an unloved park, not just by the residents and businesses but the council,” said Mr Magee.
The group of up to 20 amateur gardeners have begun regularly clearing the square of rubbish and clearing flower beds in preparation for a big community plant-out on Saturday, April 29.
The funds they raise will pay for 400 mature plants and 400 bulbs to complete a planting scheme donated by garden designer Daniela Krasnanova.
“The guys’ enthusiasm has been amazing. Just because of their enthusiasm I was willing to suggest and create a scheme,” she said.
When complete, the garden will have different flowering plants and shrubs so it will change colour across the seasons creating a continually attractive space.
Mr Lynden said he hoped the planting day would bring the local community and businesses together to take pride in the space so bigger improvements, such as the lighting and pathways, could be tackled next.
“This is the start. We’re working on the theory that if we improve the immediate environment people will go ‘woah what’s going on here’ and we can get people thinking about it and interested,” he said.
The crowdfunder, which began last week, has already raised £1,000.
For more information visit: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/norfolksquaregardenproject/
Brighton and Hove City Council declined to comment.