Belsize gardeners growing fruit and veg in car parks and tube station

Parts of the Royal Free Hospital, a hotel car park and Belsize Park tube station are set to be transformed into community fruit and veg growing sites.

Transition Belsize, NW3’s sustainable living project, met up last Thursday to launch the first project of its new initiative.

Green-fingered residents transformed part of the car park at Premier Inn in Ornan Road.

The group has also set its sights on a patch of land at the Swiss Cottage open space, which members will begin working on today.

Project co-organiser and Belsize councillor Tom Simon said: “We are seeking to utilise under-used patches of green space in Belsize for growing food. There are a number of sites dotted around the area which we are keen on.

“I really hope that this will promote community food growing and raise awareness about sustainable living in the area. I would like Belsize to be famous for its food growing.”

In Swiss Cottage, volunteers will work with members of youth group the Winchester Project and pupils from Sarum Hall School in Eton Avenue to create garden beds in the alcoves at the back of Winchester Road. Seeds will be planted in.

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Michael Delia, 52, of Belsize Crescent, welcomed the idea of residents sprucing up the area but was a little dubious about eating produce which had been grown in a car park. “I wonder whether I’d want my carrots to have grown there – but I do think it’s a good idea for the area,” he said.

Transition Belsize joint organiser Alexis Rowell said: “The aim of this is to inspire residents to grow food, show them how to do it and to encourage people to get involved and make the area more beautiful.

“With the council’s budget being cut, they’ve got less money for municipal ‘jollying up’ of the neighbourhood.”

He added that the group has been given permission to work on sites at the Royal Free Hospital, the forecourt of Belsize Park tube station, Belsize Avenue and Buckland Crescent.