The Station Masters’ Community Wildlife Garden is an initiative of the Clarence and Waterford Crescent Residents Association (CAWCRA) in Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear, UK. CAWCRA initially comprised members of 23 households (65 people) from the two principal streets and a number of associate members from adjoining areas. CAWCRA’s focus is the Nexus owned trackside land and former Station Masters’ Garden (from C. 1882). Now we have an active ‘friends of the garden group’ and have opened up membership to a broader community of residents.
Our story began in May 2010.
For the previous decade or so, the Station Masters’ Garden had been untended. It was a wild space, there was no easy access to the site. It was valued by the local community as a green barrier to the train line, but was used, on occasions, for less healthy pursuits and crime.
There were complaints. It came to a head in May 2010. The result was this…
Understandably, the local residents were not happy to have the green barrier removed. Some wondered about the birds and slow worms that had lived there, others the butterflies and bees. Thankfully, the police and Nexus listened.
On May 20th PC 2111 Mr Kevin Daykin, a local officer from the Whitley Bay station, delivered a letter through the doors of all residents inviting us to discuss the future of the land. He arranged a meeting and invited Metro operators, the local council allotment officer, police and all the local residents.
By June of of 2011 we had prepared an architects brief and invited 4 companies to prepare vision of what they would do with the land. We nominated Alex Turner Environmental Consultants to do this work for us.
In late September 2011 we submitted the planning application and our bid to Community Spaces to fund the works. We were successful with both, but planning took some time and a great deal of work. With protected species (slow-worms), knotweed, contaminated land, many tree preservation orders and a host of local hazards, it took until June 2012 until we had permission to go ahead… and we worked quickly from there. The landscape architects and contractors worked from August 2012 until May 2013 to hard landscape the garden.
Since May 2010 the community and CAWCRA committee have worked to develop a sanctuary in the heart of Whitley Bay for the community of Whitley Bay. The garden opened to the public on June 23rd 2013 with much funfair and celebration. Since June 2013 we have held many community events in the garden including food surplus sharing, barbecues, food demonstrations, planting demonstrations, composting parties and more.
Our Committee Members
- Chair: Alizon Bennet
- Vice chair: David Summers
- Secretary: Anna Richardson
- Treasurer: Mark Frampton
- Events: David Turnbull
- Members: Sue Pethybridge, Paul Yarde, Sam Storey, Stephen Taplin, Lyndsay Yarde, Duika Burges Watson, Gen Lowes
The Clarence and Waterford Residents Association Ltd is a not for profit company limited by guarantee REG No. 07546845
Our Constitution CAWCRA constitution_final_July
Our draft biodiversity action plan (BAP) CAWCRA Biodiversity Action Plan
Our health and safety policy CAWCRA Health and Safety Policy _April 2011
The ‘new’ Station Master (s)
The Station Masters Community Wildlife Garden was officially opened in June 2013 by Mr Bernard Garner, Director of the Tyne and Wear Transport Authority. Mr Chris Cade (pictured above) was our Station Master for the well attended event. We were also fortunate to enjoy a performance by the singers from Rockcliffe School.
The ‘old’ Station Master’s
It is from the following history of the Northern end of the garden that our site gets its name. It was the former garden of the grade II heritage listed Whitley Station – opened in 1882. Station Masters Proudfoot (1873), Donovan(1879), Bell(1886), Harvey(1887), Guy(1902) , Eltringham(1909), Pattinson(1925), Stephenson(1932), Waller(1934) and Middleton(1936) were amongst those who maintained the station gardens. As early as 1889 and late as 1969 Whitley Station won prizes for floral decorations. Thomas Harvey made local headlines for the “refining influence” of his floral contribution on the local community of Whitley:
The Shields Daily News 30/10/1889
THE FLORAL DECORATIONS AT WHITLEY STATION: Mr Thomas Harvey, stationmaster, Whitley, winner of a first prize for the best arranged and artistically decorated station, was presented with a handsome biscuit box by a few gentlemen, who have had the pleasure of witnessing the progress and growth of the shrubs and flowers and their final effect. The presentation was made by Mr G. E. Spender, who, in the course of his remarks, referred to the great improvement, from a floral point of view, that had come over the district during the last twenty years, and the refining influence it must have had on all classes of society….
Whitley train station c. 1889