YOU do have to feel a certain amount of sympathy for Hartington Street Methodist Church.

It is clearly a thriving, community-minded organisation with a clear vision and ambitions to bring its well-used building up to date.

But in order to do so, it needed to win outline planning permission from the council for five new houses to go on the site of one of its only assets, the community garden.

However, you can also fully understand the feelings in Hindpool, where people are surrounded on all sides by bricks and cars.

They have little, if any, green space, and a community of this size has a right to expect a recreation area for their little ones.

The last thing they want to see is more houses. The church says that the garden, once leased from them by Barrow council, has not been properly maintained, nor has it been used as intended.

In short, litter and worse is left behind and why should the job of regularly cleaning up after someone else fall on the church’s shoulders?

Someone now needs to step up - whether it’s the council, the community, the church, or all three.

Because if the garden does deteriorate further, not only has the church lost out with this decision, but so will the community in the longer term.