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Westcliff gardens planning expansion

From the Evening Echo 17th August 2016:
A MENTAL health charity is set to double the size of its therapeutic community gardens with ambitious new plans.
Trust Links runs the Growing Together gardens in Fairfax Drive, Westcliff, where people can come to relax and learn new skills in horticulture. The charity has now applied to demolish several outbuildings on the site, creating up to 40 sq m of new gardening space.
A planning statement by chartered architect TC Matthew said the new designs would allow the gardens to benefit even more people.
It said: "In recent years it (Trust Links) has transformed the application site from disused and overgrown allotments into a beautiful community garden producing flowers, fruit and vegetables, and provides a place for courses, meeting new people, sharing experiences and working towards qualifications.
"This consolidation project will provide a net gain of open space on this green interface site, increasing the market garden area by some 40m2.”
It added: "The training centre side extension will allow relocation of the mess facility from a remote outbuilding to a central location by the kitchen, as well as internal remodelling for a new secure entrance lobby, improved welfare facilities and more private meeting and interview rooms.”
The development site is on the north west of the gardens, along Prittlewell Chase.
Six demountable buildings will be removed as part of the plans and replaced by a single storey extension to the main training centre building and two new demountable buildings.
The changes will make the gardens more publicly accessible by removing gates that are currently positioned between the buildings.
Since it was established in 2000 the Growing Together Garden in Westcliff has helped hundreds of people work through their problems and develop new skills.
The site is home to chickens that are looked after by members, polytunnels for bringing on young plants, a log cabin for training or drinking tea, an arbour for relaxation and a training room for courses and classes.
Members also eat and volunteer in the on-site kitchen.
The garden has won Southend in Bloom and Anglia in Bloom awards in the past.
Trust Links also has gardens in Shoebury and Thundersley.
There is a shop at the Westcliff site where the public can buy fruit and vegetables from 9am until 4pm, Monday to Friday.
This will also be improved by the plans. The plans can be viewed at publicaccess.southend.gov.uk.