Saturday, 21 October 2017

Memorial gardens set to have a makeover after all

NEW plans have been drawn up to refurbish Rectory Gardens in Goring.

NEW plans have been drawn up to refurbish Rectory Gardens in Goring.

The parish council had drafted the proposals after turning down residents’ suggestions for a £2,000 makeover of the site in May.

The council wants to cut back the avenue of overgrown lime trees that runs alongside the footpath through the gardens.

It plans to level the grass, remove moss from the path, install one or two extra benches and plant more bulbs and wildflowers.

It also hopes to put up a plaque welcoming visitors to the gardens and explaining their history. Although the council holds the land in trust, the plan must be approved by South Oxfordshire District Council’s tree officers as it is in a conservation area.

The work would need to be carried out during the winter.

The Goring Gap in Bloom committee had put forward plans for a more extensive overhaul.

It wanted to install a village sign, plant new shrubs and lay a new footpath leading to a gravel maze. This followed criticism of Rectory Gardens by the Britain in Bloom judges during a visit to the village last year. The council refused to approve these plans, saying they contravened the wishes of Sir James Edmondson, 1st Baron Sandford, who gave the gardens to the village in 1939 and said the site must remain grassland apart from the footpath.

The former MP donated the land in memory of his 21-year-old daughter Peggy, who died in a boating accident in Dorset.

Parish council chairman Alan Strong said: “In view of the clear content of the trust deed as set out by a grieving father, we could not agree to the proposal as it included significant changes. However, there were parts which we felt could enhance the attractiveness of the garden and remain true to the deed. I hope that these improvements, when completed, will enhance this valuable amenity in the centre of our village and also encourage more people to enjoy this pleasant green area.”

It isn’t yet known how much the work will cost but a villager, who wants to remain anonymous, has offered to foot the bill.

Lord Sandford’s nephew John Farr, who lives at Gatehampton Manor, said: “The gardens are a bit dark at the moment. They just need lightening up and don’t need any other work.

“It really isn’t necessary to put all those plants around the place.”

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