Case Study: London Road Community Garden, Brighton

London Road Community Garden

Background: The London Road Station Partnership comprises a group of neighbours living near a 19th-century railway station, just outside the centre of Brighton. The group was formed after members of the local Resident’s Association saw a leaflet called Southern Station Partnership which outlined a suggestion for partnerships between Southern Railway and local groups who would undertake projects at a station for the benefit of the local community, passengers and Southern stations. The association members thought plots of land either side of  the station, which were unused and needed attention, could be used for food growing. The group began work with Southern Railway in April 2011 to set up a station community partnership and bring the gardens into productive use.

The Site: The plots are owned by Network Rail and leased to Southern Rail. The group use the land for free without a lease or licence and Southern Rail have proved helpful with advice and support since the group have signed up as ‘Station Partners’. For example the company provides insurance and has paid for woodchip and water butts.

Other support (including cash, plants, publicity and information) has been provided by nearby businesses, Brighton Permaculture Trust, Brighton and Hove Food Partnership, Brighton and Hove City Council and RHS.

The ground was hardcore and concrete with some concerns about contamination. Initially the group used containers but now there are raised beds built from donated scaffolding planks. Soil is brought in, some derived from the group’s new composting scheme on a nearby plot. The group has also gone on to take on the care of nearly council planters.  Volunteers meet weekly to work on the gardens and welcome interest from local people interested in community gardening.

Further details: The partnership has information and a regular blog at:

Using Railway Land For Community Gardening: Groups that work on railway land need to go through a process to ensure the work is safe and they often require raised beds to avoid risk of contaminated ground.

Network Rail owns all railway land but most land at stations is leased to train operators, who often have ‘Adopt a Station’ schemes. If you would like to use railway land, ask your local station who is responsible for the land you are interested in. A station adoption brochure is also available to download.

There is also a national Community Scheme on land directly managed by Network Rail. The scheme involves a licence agreement, which is annually renewable. 


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© Community Land Advisory Service 2018