Wigan community going green with national food-growing scheme

The new Incredible Edible scheme in New Springs
The new Incredible Edible scheme in New Springs

A national scheme born in the borough which turns waste land into glorious green crops is expanding in a Wigan community.

Councillors in Aspull, New Springs, Whelley have managed to get hold of a second piece of unused space for the ward’s Incredible Edible scheme.

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Coun Chris Ready, portfolio holder for communities and neighbourhoods, is a particular fan of the national project which was founded by Leyther Pam Warhurst.

Incredible Edible sees scraps of land taken over by communities and turned into places to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs which anyone in the area can then take for free.

Councillors have already established a successful growing space in Aspull and is now broadening out into New Springs, giving a new lease of life to some previously council-owned land opposite a hair salon on Wigan Road.

Gardening enthusiasts from nearby allotments and pupils from an eco club at Holy Family Primary School will help to nurture the new crops.

Coun Ready said: “This is quite a sizeable chunk of land and it’s a bit of an eyesore at the moment.

“It is now a bit of a no-man’s-land and we want to make it better than that. Our aim is to create a nice area, something for local people that looks good.

“We’ve previously had to mow this land and it seems to me that’s a waste of money.

“This land is never going to be anything as it is because it isn’t big enough to build something on but Incredible Edible fills that gap. If we get kids involved they will respect it as it is their garden and we are delighted the allotment society is so keen to get involved. It’s about adding to that community spirit.

“We’re quite keen to get this moving because the growing season is on now and we need to be planting.”

The team at the New Springs site plan to install four large boxes to grow a wide range of edible plants in and also build some raised beds.

Pupils at the nearby primary school will be getting involved in the growing and harvesting of the crops, with plot holders at the allotments providing expertise, particularly during the day and in the school holidays.

It is also hoped businesses in the ward will roll up their sleeves to help the green project.

The ward councillors will also be providing signs to explain to resident what is being grown through Brighter Borough funding.

Coun Ready says there are already plans in the pipeline to bring Incredible Edible to Whelley through working with Canon Sharples Primary School.