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The gardens in the squares

Garden access policy revised by Trinity House/Capita – October 2016

The current access arrangements are being changed to an electronic fob system, which will soon be in operation. Capita are offering the opportunity to access the gardens to the wider residential community of Trinity Village. See TH garden access policy for the new garden access policy.

Residents can apply for one fob per household and will be required to sign a seven-page licence. For assured shorthold, assured and regulated tenants of Trinity House, access will continue to be granted without charge.

For long leasehold and freehold owners within Trinity Village there will be an annual fee of £100. For properties which are sublet, completion of the licence and payment must be carried out by the long leaseholder/freeholder. The charge of £100 may be refunded at year end for six "designated gardeners” with a record of voluntary work in the two gardens. Long leaseholders and freehold owners should email Shaun.Roberts@capita.co.uk if they are interested in receiving a fob.

Latest news on garden management: July 2015

After years of lobbying by TNRA, Trinity House has appointed a gardening specialist to manage the green spaces in Trinity Village. The new contractor is Greenmantle – see www.themastergardeners.co.uk for more information. They have been engaged to manage the gardens/beds of Trinity Church Square, Merrick Square, Gloucester Court, Swan Street and the south side of Trinity Street. They will also be consulted regarding the design and landscaping of six rear gardens (still to be identified) that Capita plans to upgrade this year. On 30 June, representatives of TNRA met with Steve Blazeby, a Commercial Manager at Greenmantle, to discuss the continued involvement of residents in the maintenance of our gardens. We were encouraged by his offer to include input from residents in the work instructions provided to the gardening team and to procure materials and lend gardening equipment to support our action days. However, we were concerned to learn that Greenmantle’s contract allows for only 12 man hours a week of work in Trinity Village. We will be monitoring Greenmantle’s performance and the condition of the gardens for evidence that more time and resource is required. Please email us your feedback and comments on how Greenmantle perform in the coming months.

Background

The gardens in the squares have been open to residents since 1994 (Merrick Square) and 1997 (Trinity Church Square) and have been well used. Use of TCS garden has increased since the closure of Trinity Street to through traffic. Since 1998 TNRA has taken part in the London-wide Open Garden Squares Weekend in June, opening first just Merrick Square garden and since 2007 both gardens on the Sunday of the weekend. See pictures here and here. And see here for information about the statue in Trinity Church Square garden.

Originally laid out in the 19th century, the gardens were redesigned and replanted in 2000 in accordance with designs drawn up by the Museum of Garden History (now the Garden Museum). In 2010, TNRA became concerned that the condition of the gardens had declined and we commissioned a report to assess this. We discussed the gardens with Trinity House and the managing agents. 

Garden action days

Since 2011 TNRA has organised a number of action days in Trinity Square Garden when local volunteers have worked under the supervision of Penny Hinves, former TNRA Vice Chair and garden designer, who is a Chelsea Silver Medal Winner. This has improved the garden by weeding, composting, the planting of shrubs and ground cover and the planting of several thousand bulbs. Volunteers have cleared and tidied the gardens before they have been opened to the public at Open Garden Squares Weekend in June each year.

Gardening expert   

In 2014 Capita has secured funding from Trinity House to engage a gardening expert to maintain the two square gardens and other green spaces in Trinity Village. The role will include the development and refining of planting. Capita is keen to put in place a comprehensive and fully inclusive service which covers not only the garden squares but the estate as a whole. The new position will be put out to tender. As an interim measure, Penny Hinves has been engaged for a six-month period from May 2014 to work for two days a week maintaining the two garden squares, with funding being provided for new plants and manure.

"No dogs" signs

In 2014 several dog owners have been exercising their pets by setting them free in the garden.  At TNRA's suggestion, Capita has put a "No dogs" sign on the gates of both gardens to discourage this practice.

Access to the gardens

TNRA is awaiting sight of Capita's new policy for access to the gardens in Trinity Church Square and Merrick Square. In 2013 their original proposal was to change the criteria for access, restricting entry to residents of the squares only and charging those who are not tenants. This would take away the privilege for residents of some parts of the estate: Falmouth Road, Swan Street, Cole Street and Trinity Street. TNRA does not agree with these proposals and suggested an alternative policy. Click here to view Capita's and TNRA's proposals.

Extract from the TNRA newsletter Spring 2012: Improving our garden squares

Trinity Church Square garden

After much discussion, Trinity House provided funding in 2011 for improvements to Trinity Church Square, including the metal edging of beds, composting, the planting of shrubs and ground cover and the planting of several thousand bulbs. The lawn now benefits from the regular attentions of Greenthumb, the grass maintenance specialists. Local gardening expert Penny Hinves has been retained to prune shrubs and plants in Trinity Church Square and volunteers have undertaken to water new plants in their first season.

TNRA awaits a response from Trinity House/Capita to recent proposals for the involvement of residents in the on-going work of maintaining the Trinity Church Square garden. We have proposed a day of weeding by community volunteers on Saturday 26 May (two weeks before the Open Garden Squares Weekend). TNRA organised an extensive weeding session on Saturday 1 July 2011. More than eight months later, weeds are still few and far between. We have suggested that Trinity House/Capita fund the purchase of organic matter (fertiliser) for residents to distribute on a Saturday in early Autumn. This was done in 2011 and has improved plant growth, kept weeds back and helped to retain soil moisture. Finally, we would propose to help with the clearing of leaves from central and side beds on two or three Saturday mornings in early Winter.

Merrick Square garden

Trinity House/Capita have also asked for our suggestions for improvements in Merrick Square. TNRA organised a "pub social” on Monday 23 January at The Roebuck to give Merrick Square residents an informal opportunity to discuss their garden. Approximately 20 residents attended. The consensus was that the aim should be "restoration” rather than "transformation”. The parterre in the centre of the garden should be retained but replanted where required, particularly where there is now compacted earth, to give more ­colour. The use of metal hoops/edging to protect the parterre was supported. The only innovation proposed was the introduction of more seating – two more seats in the north east and south west corners of the square, mirroring those in the other two corners already. 

Penny Hinves is working up a costed plan for improvements. The role of residents from Merrick Square in weeding, composting and planting is under discussion. Please let us know if you would be prepared to join a team of volunteers!


TCS garden Dec 2011Volunteers weeding, planting, fertilising and watering TCS garden in the last of the sunshine in December 2011.