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Northbrook Croft residents create sculpturally inspired rock garden

Residents at Northbrook Croft – an age-exclusive block of flats in Chapel Allerton – have come together to transform a patch of scrub land into a beautiful rock garden.

The transformed land surrounds a tree overlooking the front of the property. While it had previously been surrounded by plants, over the years the shade and cover had left the area straggly and overgrown.

Noticing this, some tenants came together and have now transformed the area, weeding out the previous vegetation and replacing it with rocks, stumps and each of their favourite plants.

Tenants Association chair Gary Bowman said that the idea “all started with me getting fed up with the rubbish and trying to get it tidy.”

Gary suggested to the Tenants’ Association that the area would look better if they removed the weeds and put down a membrane and chippings, but fellow resident May Belt had grander ideas, inspired by the likes of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

May said:

“I wanted a sculpture park but I couldn’t have that. I’d seen Pannett Park in Whitby and it’s all done beautifully. In small, low maintenance areas like this they’ve got overturned rocks. I thought – ‘that’s it, we’re having rocks!’”

The group had previously tried planting wildflowers but the land wasn’t suitable. Betty Clark, who’s been living at Northbrook Croft since 1998, said “because of the tree nothing would grow, the flowers would die off because they didn’t get enough rain.”

With some help from Leeds’ company the Mone Brothers the group soon planned their design and got to work on the area.

May said:

“they came and deposited these huge bags of chippings, and I said we’ll be back, because we’ll be coming to choose stones! They had the forklift truck out to select them.”

The project was originally funded using money from the Tenant’s Association as well as extra funding from various residents. Ultimately the whole project was reimbursed by Connect Housing.

Gary said: “We all chipped in little bits and pieces, in the end Connect funded it so we can actually pay back to people who’ve dipped in”.

Ultimately the team’s hard work paid off and residents are thrilled with the results. Glynis Marsh – who was also a key part in the project – said:

“I think everybody’s really proud of it. The number of comments we get from the neighbours and people who are passing who all think it’s lovely.”

This project isn’t the first time the Tenants Association group has worked to transform their space, having previously worked similar magic on a patch of land outside the property’s front door, adding painted plant pots, flowers and shrubs.

The group hopes to work together on more projects in the future, enjoying the team effort of everyone getting together “whilst having fun at the same time!” said May.

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Connect Housing Association Limited is a charitable association registered in England and Wales under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 (Company No. IP17445R) and with the Regulator of Social Housing (No. L2285).

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