Gardener told: You can’t dig up public land on a whim

Diane Hunt with her garden, a work in progress

Local authorities have firmly repeated their warning to an environmental activist that she cannot create a community garden on council property without permission.

Diane Hunt, 57, received a warning letter from East Kent Housing after she began to lay soil for plants on a grassy bank outside her flat in Long Meadow Way on the Hales Place Estate.

She triggered a furious social media debate after protesting that she had merely wanted to do something to lift a corner of the estate.

Ms Hunt added that she believed she had been acting in the spirit of Canterbury City Council’s Love Where You Live campaign.

But council spokesman Leo Whitlock said: “One of the major themes of the Love Where We Live campaign is respecting other people’s property.

Diane Hunt says people on the Hales Place support her efforts

“Just as we expect people not to daub graffiti across someone’s home or business premises, we expect them not to dig up someone else’s grass on a whim and without permission no matter how well intentioned their motives might be.

“We are always open to ideas about how to improve the district. People just have to come and talk to us or East Kent Housing first.”

Ms Hunt wanted to create a community garden bearing fruits like strawberries and herbs on it – and has the backing of neighbours.

East Kent Housing added: “While we appreciate the motives, this is a communal area which is for the benefit of all residents.

“Some residents have told us they do not want an environmental area in front of their homes although they might not want to say this in person to a passionate and enthusiastic environmental campaigner.

“Their views need to be respected as should the fact that this land does not belong to Ms Hunt. We are always open to discussing new ideas about improving where people live, but we need to balance the wishes of everyone affected.”

East Kent Housing has warned Ms Hunt that she must remove the garden or she will be ordered to pay for its removal.


  1. I have double checked with neighbours and they are happy and supportive. Especially as permaculture design was used which includes designing for everyone using and on the site as well as nature itself .

    It is hoped that even though things have started off badly in some respects (including rather inflammatory headlines which I wouldn’t have chosen and I don’t think helped discussion, although the article itself was good ) there’s still room to discuss the possibility of a pilot scheme for gardening mentoring so that local people can assist to make their areas somewhere we can Live Where We Live, save our council money and resources, prevent spraying , lessen fossil fuel use; have nice spaces to enjoy, including for bored and frustrated children whose health and safety safety is currently playing with hard core, rusted metal and fly tipped mattresses which have remained uncollected for years. Our local authority needs us. If we help ourselves and each other and learn to care for and maintain our areas there is less strain and the council can focus on other pressing matters. The people are saying they are willing and want this. I am sorry for just going ahead but as the letter stated; permission would not have been given. Also this is The GREEN Team Canterbury, not just me. There are many we know who would be willing to assist with mentoring; especially with a grant or lottery funding or crowdfunder to support the initiative and give mentors something for their time and energy as well as cover costs. We can find a way . Together.

    Add to this trial introductions of Chalk the Streets. Then, if that is working; the more permanent Paint the Pavement, both of which; along with the addition of beauty via nature and art, are proven to calm traffic, create community, and encourage people to get out of their vehicles so they can enjoy this fine city which can be even finer.

    Imagine and envision: The Sustainable City of Canterbury . We can do it much easier and faster with the people helping. Plus there’s a tragedy going to happen with a child being hit by a car here if we don’t introduce what’s already been proven to work elsewhere …and NOW. Enable us please .

    Diane Hunt
    The GREEN Team Canterbury


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here