Man in ongoing battle with council to save 'secret garden' from demolition

A man from Derbyshire is in an ongoing battle to save a 'secret garden' he built in a conservation area from demolition.

Robert Banner, 55, built the garden on Pye Bridge Conservation Area in Alfreton in his spare time during lockdown.

The green space has a bench and bird table - he made other decorations out of old materials he found littered around the site.

Handmade bench in the 'secret garden' in Derbyshire. Credit: BPM Media

However, Derbyshire County Council have deemed it unsafe and have planned to demolish the site on June 10.

The garden was built on a section of land owned by the council, which was previously littered with rubble from the houses that previously stood there.

Robert says he has plead with the council to not demolish the garden, claiming that it is helping the surrounding greenery.

He said he took on the project to keep his mental health in check, after lockdown restrictions prevented him from working as a painter.

Credit: BPM Media

The 55-year-old said he picked up "35 years' worth of rubbish" and must have filled "40 or 50 bin liners" with litter from around the wooded area.

He says the garden has also gone down well with locals with people thanking him and even writing messages on titles.

He said: "It's a place where you can just sit while they're out walking their dogs, it's a lovely spot."

The council have safety concerns, particularly involving the bench, due to its makeshift construction.

Robert says the council believes the garden prevents the natural growth of the shrubbery.

He is urging the council to delay the demolition so it can be surveyed by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.

Derbyshire County Council say they have taken the safeness of the site into consideration and believe they must take 'appropriate action'.