Blooming designs


Residents in Gateshead have the chance to design their own Chelsea Garden.

Northumbrian Water and affordable housing provider, Home Group, are working in partnership to give the residents of Deckham the opportunity to enter a garden design competition.

The piece of land, which is owned by Home Group and will be transformed into the community garden, is off Chelsea Gardens in Deckham.

It is hoped that the competition will not only provide the community with an attractive area that they can enjoy and be proud of, but that it will also raise the awareness of how surface water can be managed in the natural environment in all weather conditions.

Residents can enter the competition by picking up an entry form at Home Group’s community event, being held on Tuesday August 4 on Bayswater Road in Deckham, between 1:00pm and 3:00pm. Entry forms can also be downloaded from Northumbrian Water’s website

The closing date for competition entries is Friday August 21. Entrants should live in Deckham and they should send their designs to FREEPOST, Northumbrian Water, Distribution Support, Abbey Road, Pity Me, Durham, DH1 5FJ. There is no age restriction on this competition.

Martin Kennedy, Northumbrian Water’s sustainable sewerage manager, said: “This competition is an engaging and fun way to highlight the importance of managing surface water, in all weather conditions, in a sustainable way. We are looking forward to seeing the designs and hope that residents embrace this opportunity to improve their community and to create a lovely space that future generations will use and enjoy.

“We have carried out a £1 million scheme in this area recently to reduce the likelihood of flooding and the competition is also a way for us to thank residents for any disruption we may have caused. We wish all entrants the best of luck!”

Kathryn Forte, Home Group strategic neighbourhood co-ordinator, said: “We are delighted to work with Northumbrian Water to give people an opportunity to create a community garden with a sustainable focus.

"We hope to see some inspired designs which incorporate water storage methods and are also easy to build and maintain.”

Features that could be included in garden designs include surfaces which allow water to soak into them or grassed channels which temporarily store and drain surface water, known as swales.

Designs should also encourage wildlife to flourish in the garden and should use native planting which will meet the needs of local wildlife by providing them with shelter and food. Features to avoid using include seating or play equipment, due to safety requirements, and the use of steps should be avoided so that the garden is accessible to all.

Entries will be judged by Northumbrian Water, Home Group and Gateshead Council. A shortlist of three garden designs will then be presented to the residents of Deckham for them to vote for the winner. It is hoped that the winning garden design will be created and brought to life by Summer next year.

Councillor Gary Haley, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure said: “I would urge local people to get involved and have a go at designing this new community garden. This is something everyone can enjoy and it will be an attractive long-lasting feature in Deckham.”

The winner will receive a £250 voucher to spend at a retailer of their choice and the second and third placed designs will receive £100 and £50 vouchers, respectively. Finalists will also receive a water butt and fitting kit and all entrants will be entered into a draw to win one of ten water butts.

For further information contact Cara Charlton on 0191 301 6720 or

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