A COUNCILLOR whose community garden application was rejected at a local ward alliance meeting is to go ahead with plans himself.

Coun Harry Spence has applied for a grant from the Darton East ward alliance twice for his idea for a community garden outside Mapplewell Coop - but has been rejected both times.

Now Coun Spence is going ahead with the plans himself, and is seeking support from local businesses to help him set up the garden.

“I went to the ward alliance just before Christmas and the idea was refused because there wasn’t enough information,” he said.

“I then completed another application and provided more detail which was then refused again.

“I was told this was on the grounds that the location was unsafe for children in the area, even though I spoke with three eco-councils from schools and invited them to use it.

“So from that, I decided that I was going to do the garden myself.”

Coun Spence has now reached out to local businesses with some agreeing to financially back the project, including Greenworks Barnsley and Stonehouse Financial Services.

“I’ve had a name plaque made, and intend to put every person or business that has made a donation onto the plaque.

“The Coop are fully behind this and are happy for it to be placed next to the memorial.

“I want children and the community to engage with it.”

Coun Steve Hunt, who chairs the ward alliance, has some concerns about the garden’s location.

He said: “The seven members of the ward alliance voted on the proposal of a community garden next to the Coop in the village.

“No one voted in favour of the community garden as there were a few concerns we had about it.

“These included its location outside a busy supermarket on private land near a main road and that there was no clear maintenance plan as it wasn’t established who would maintain it.

“I am not against having a community garden in Mapplewell, but perhaps Mapplewell Park would be a better fit for it.”

Coun Spence is certain that this new garden will bring the community together.

“It’s just about getting everyone involved, this has been on my mind for a while and now it’s finally happening.”

Coun Spence said he hoped it would be ready for March 1.

“You want kids to be putting a seed in and watching it spring through, what’s more exciting than that?”