Bid to take over ‘no-man’s-land’ town garden
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
A PUBLIC garden which has become “a bit of a no-man's-land” should come under the control of Barnard Castle Town Council.
The garden, at Amen Corner, on the junction of The Bank and Newgate, was originally created in the 1930s, but who actually owns the plot and is responsible for its upkeep remains a mystery.
However, Cllr Sandra Moorhouse, chairwoman of the town's resources committee, told colleagues: “It’s a town garden and the town council should have that garden.”
She explained how Amen Corner was created as the result of work to improve the junction.
“My understanding is that Barnard Castle Urban District Council compulsorily purchased two former detached shops on that corner.
“They were demolished, the road and footpath were widened and the remaining curtilage went into laying down a town garden.”
However, she said the urban district council did not have a title deed for the garden.
“They passed it on to Teesdale District Council who passed it on to Durham County Council – without a title deed,” added Cllr Moorhouse.
“I really feel that should come back to the council. It’s the town’s garden.”
White roses were planted at Amen Corner at the turn of the century to commemorate the town’s connection with Richard III thanks to a campaign led by The Teesdale Mercury .
However, these were later removed as part of a wider scheme to revamp the area in front of St Mary’s Parish Church carried out by the now defunct Heart of Teesdale Landscape Partnership.
The shrubbery at Amen Corner was then left to grow wild until last month when a group of volunteers led by ex- town councillor Roger Peat set about restoring the garden to its former glory.
Mr Peat said he was prompted to act after the state of the area was highlighted by the Mercury in an article written by retired teacher Margaret Watson.
He described Amen Corner as a bit of a no-man’s-land due to the uncertainty over its ownership.
The volunteers removed all plants from the garden and the plan is to put compost on the garden and introduce controlled planting – including the return of white roses.
Cllr Moorhouse added: “I would really like to see us try to get this as an asset for the town. I think it is important.
“We need to move with all speed on this.”
Members of the resources committee agreed the town council should attempt to take responsibility for Amen Corner.