A patch of derelict waste ground by a railway station is undergoing a green makeover and being transformed into an urban orchard in Brighton.

Preston Circus planters, Brighton Permaculture Trust and Southern Rail have teamed up to plant an orchard outside London Road railway station.

Planting took place with donations of soil improver and equipment with volunteers prepared to get their hands dirty.

Volunteers are planning to plant six apples and pears as cordons growing up the south-facing wall of the station as well as salad, bean, raspberry beds and tomato pots to brighten up the station approach.

The project has been given financial support by Southern Railway while neighbours have donated plants and local scaffolding firms have provided planks to build the raised beds.

Nearby pubs The Signalman and The Open House have also dipped into their pockets.

The planting scheme has been praised by leading Green figures in the city.

Rediscovered varieties

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “This wonderful initiative shows that it’s possible to transform vacant and derelict spaces – even small ones – into productive areas which really benefit the local community.

“It’s particularly impressive that the partnership has managed to create something here that is both attractive and which produces fresh food, as well as offering local people the chance to share skills and learn more about growing food.

“I’m also delighted to see that the London Road team is researching and planting different types of apples, so rediscovering varieties that you wouldn’t find in the supermarket.”

Pete West, cabinet member for environment at Brighton and Hove City Council, said: “The partnership between the local community and Southern at London Road Station is literally bearing fruit.

“Once drab and derelict spaces around the station have been transformed into growing spaces that are not only producing food, but is also creating a strong focus that for the first time is really bringing local people together.”

Elspeth Broady, coordinator of the London Road Station Partnership, said: “When we started last year, the area was covered in broken bottles and cans. We’ll now have a mini-orchard, as well as three raised beds for vegetable growing, and we’ve had fantastic support from the local community.”

A Southern Rail spokesman thanked the groups involved.

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