The renovation of Buile Hill sensory garden project is now underway after volunteers got to work this week .
Dozens of people from different generations brought boots, gloves and goodwill to start clearing up the garden in preparation for bulb planting this Spring. The garden has fallen into disrepair in recent years.
Paul Rupa, chairman of the Buile Hill Mansion Association, said: “What we are trying to do our association is to pressurise the people who have got their hands in the levers of power, in other words the council, they are the custodians of this for us we own it.
“We are the taxpayers and we are trying to influence them to say enough is enough! We want to make sure that things that were important to us are saved.”
At the centre of the park, in a ‘secret’ location, the volunteers worked vigorously.
Mr Rupa added: “It’s great really, we have people from all over the world here.”
The initiative was led by the volunteers of the Buile Hill Mansion Association that independently created a crowdfunding page to gather £300 to fund their new project and most tools were donated.
They also released an appeal for everyone to joined them. An idea born to keep the public engaged while the future of the mansion is decided by Salford city council that this summer launched a public consultation, looking for residents’ views on Buile Hill Park and Mansion.
Wendy Francis, coordinator of the project, said: “There is a lot of development around this area, so this one of the few areas of green that we got really that’s why is so precious to people.”
Carolyn Bilsborough a volunteer that has lived next to the park for decades said: “Our green belt is our parks. There has been talk of building houses in this park. The council are having to fight developers to stop them doing it, it is actually a very hard decision for a council because they need the development, they need the investment but we can afford to lose greenspace. It seems crazy to loose green spaces in Salford.”
Carolyn said the garden had been created in the 1960s for people with sensory impairment.
She added: “The flowers all smell nice, and I don’t know if you can see now but there are braille signs around.”
Lynda Curran, volunteer, and Mr Rupa mentioned the park was all private property until around 1903.
Mr Rupa said: “The founding fathers of this city actually bought this park and it became a public utility. And also, despite being the lack of money from people around here, they raised £2,500 pounds from public donations. This was a place where everybody was equal.”
The project involves planting, painting fences, renovating benches and next year the garden will be open to the entire community.
“We don’t know the long-term plans for the future,” said Ms Francis. Although the future of the mansion is still uncertain the volunteers of the Buile Hill Sensory Garden project will continue working on the present and focus on the complete renovation of the Buile Hill Park.
“We hope this is just a small idea that will grow,” said Mr Rupa.