Friends of Ballard Water Meadow fear community garden could harm native plants
CONCERNS were raised for native plants amid talks over a New Milton beauty spot hosting a community garden.
Friends of Ballard Water Meadow chair Bob Lord voiced the group’s reservations over the suitability of the site’s north-west corner during a recent online town council amenities committee meeting.
Councillors welcomed the scheme when it was put forward last month by Julia Stamper from the New Milton Residents’ Association.
As reported in the A&T, she said it would build on local community spirit shown during the pandemic and help people connect with nature.
Mrs Stamper told the recent meeting Ballard Water Meadow would be “about as central as you can get” for the town.
Although agreeing a community garden was a “great initiative”, Mr Lord warned it could compromise native plant species, and non-native species could also “escape” into the meadow’s woodland.
The Friends also worried increased public “trampling” could undo much of their work there, he added.
Mr Lord suggested alternative locations including the northern edge of Long Meadow which, he pointed out, had recently been “dug over”.
Amenities chair Cllr Geoffrey Blunden stressed Ballard Water Meadow was currently only a suggestion, although he pointed out there was not an “abundance of locations”.
Cllr Alan O’ Sullivan agreed with Mr Lord’s argument it was not central enough and suggested a section of New Milton’s recreation ground be used instead.
But Cllr Steve Clarke argued Ballard Water Meadow was “workable” subject to designs and layout.
“Sometimes you have to take what you’ve got and what’s available,” he said.
Cllr Blunden concluded the working group should continue to look into possible locations, including the water meadow.