SPIRITED campaigners have created a community garden next to Colchester’s derelict bus station without securing council permission.

Community Voice Colchester used recycled wooden pallets to create seven new planters on the north side of the fencing enclosing the run-down site, located off Queen Street.

The strip of land covers part of the area where Alumno’s stalled student flats development was due to take place before the planning committee unanimously threw out the plans in February.

Community Voice Colchester, which opposed the developer’s scheme, has been calling for the surrounding area to be cleared since the plans were rejected so it can be used by residents.

However, bids to improve the area have been repeatedly knocked back by Colchester Council, which now has a planning appeal to fight against the developer in October.

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Ian Cropton, a spokesman for Community Voice Colchester, said: “We spent Saturday morning creating seven temporary mobile planters from recycled wooden pallets, and then on Sunday morning we filled the planters with compost and planted a mix of flowers, herbs and fruit plants.

“This is intended as a community garden and we welcome anyone in the area to help keeping it watered.

“We have permission from the Minories to use its tap which is in the tiny car park that is off the Firstsite access road.

“There is one planter which has been left to be filled with compost, which everyone is welcome to add their plants to.”

The group says the planting was done to mark the 370th anniversary of the Diggers’ Rebellion of 1649.

At this time, members of the radical protestant group the Diggers tore down enclosures belonging to wealthy landowners and created community gardens for agricultural workers on the country’s farms.

A spokesman for Colchester Council said the authority had not granted Community Voice Colchester permission to install flower beds or complete any other work at the site.

In May, the council warned campaigners against trespassing after group members cleared a fenced off area at the old bus station site.

Alumno wants to build 336 student flats at the site but campaigners want more community space.