A new community garden with a coral theme is coming to Sidmouth after the town council approved plans to reimagine a patch of land on a former gas works in the town, near The Ham which had previously been left to grow wild.

The proposal was brought to the council from Sidmouth in Bloom, the Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub, residents, Sidmouth Arboretum, the Sid Valley Biodiversity Group and Friends of the Byes. The project hopes to bring together the community with volunteers using their skills to make it a much more attractive and useful space.

The new community garden will be designed to incorporate bird and bat boxes as well as plants that will encourage local wildlife and that will thrive in a coastal environment. The design will have a theme of coral reefs, which ties in with the Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub’s 2020 theme, Life Below Water – Preserving our Oceans.

Speaking to reporters, Lynette Talbot, chair of Sidmouth in Bloom, said: “This area would give protection from the sea winds to residents and visitors to sit, chat and eat while giving a pleasant view towards the new bridge.”

Louise Cole, director of Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub, added: “The health of our coral reefs is important to protect biodiversity, the theme of this new garden will help us to creatively promote protection of our marine environment such as reducing single use plastics. Through this project, we can engage people in conversations, raise awareness and connect through art and planting to create a beautiful space for people to enjoy.”

Work on the community garden will begin soon.