Park Lane Community Garden


Building owner/client:

Shetland Islands Council

Architect or lead designer:

Andrew Sandison

Local Authority Area:


Nominating Body:

Lerwick Community Council

Project Description

Park Lane Community Garden started when local residents got together to plan a garden and play trail on land owned by the council which was left gathering weeds and dog fouling after the previous housing demolition. Shetland Islands Council agreed to the community taking over the space, gave the volunteer’s a lease and from this the garden was borne. The Park Lane Community Garden Group are extremely grateful to Shetland Islands Council for letting this happen. The volunteer’s then applied to Tesco’s who awarded £8000 grant (money from the 5p plastic bag tax which goes back into the local community) which has made it possible for them to buy plants, stones and materials. Park Lane was so called because it used to have 4 parks. Lots of gardens and nice old stone buildings were removed to make way for some new housing but mostly huge areas for car parking. The volunteer’s were passionate in trying to bring some of this green space back into the centre of town. It’s important that people have shared spaces where they can come together and gardens create home for wildlife. The volunteer’s used raised beds with stones constructed vertically, as stones soak in the heat, and allows for better drainage and it was also thought that raised beds would be good for elderly volunteers, as they are much easier to work with. The volunteers made sure that all the plants in the Park Lane community garden have all been tried and tested very nearby. There are colourful bursts of heathers, rhododdenrons, conifers, alpines, climbers, fruit bushes and flowering perennials from various sources including COPE and Ingrid Plant Centre. The Park Lane Community Garden will need ongoing support and offers of help continue to come forward. In the spring a kids play trail will be created which in turn will allow children to play while community volunteer’s and visitors work in the garden. Park Lane Community Garden is also on Facebook, ‘Park Lane Community Garden’ and this is used to update the community on up and coming events.

Supporting Statement

The build and design has been well planned to create social spaces with its well designed seating, for its attractiveness and use of local suppliers for materials. Following the demolition of eight 1970’s flats which were deemed in poor condition and unsafe, the site was to be used for landscaping and creation of an amenity space. The recent creation of the garden is an asset to the community and can be integrated into any future plans for the area. What was once a desolate patch of stony waste ground is now a tranquil oasis: a sheltered spot for locals and visitors to share and enjoy. The garden has stunning views over to Bressay and is highly appropriate, as the name ‘Park Lane’ comes from the area having had four gardens in the past. A lot of effort has been put in by the community and a steady growing interest from the public with offers of help coming from local groups and organisations. The garden provides a welcoming environment with volunteers able to improve their physical and mental health by helping out, along with learning and developing new skills. Social events are fostering a community spirit and resulting in neighbours sharing more time together. The project should have been a straightforward planning application, but became a rollercoaster of issues with objections to the garden by those who thought the site was more suited to a future housing development and the creation of a garden making it difficult to return the site to housing. The garden has been granted planning permission for temporary use up to a maximum of five years.