Council seeks to allay fears over future of public gardens

CONCERN: Chalets at Greenhill Gardens, Weymouth

HAVING THEIR SAY: Geraldine Owen hands in the petition to save the gardens to Adam Kellock, Democratic Services Officer, at WPBC

ASSURANCES: Councillor Ian Bruce

First published in News by

A WEYMOUTH councillor has spoken out to allay fears surrounding the future of Greenhill Gardens.

Councillor Ian Bruce, spokesman for tourism and culture at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said councillors wanted to see the gardens maintained.

Cllr Bruce spoke after a petition secured a council debate on the subject.

A petition which amassed 903 signatures was presented to the borough council earlier this month calling on the authority to keep the gardens under public stewardship.

The borough council announced plans in November 2013 to sell off Greenhill chalets, Esplanade chalets, the Greenhill play gardens and chats, the Greenhill toilets and the associated facilities for a 125-year tender.

Cllr Bruce said the gardens would remain under the management, control and ownership of the borough council.

What has been and will continue to be debated is whether the council will remain the landlord of the facilities, according to Cllr Bruce.

He said: “They have directed their petition in the wrong way.

“If they want us to discuss how the chalets should be managed in the future, they should have said that in the petition. The issue of the chalets is something we have been consulting on for a long time. We are trying to find a solution which doesn’t involve people who don’t have a chalet paying for them.”

The matter will be discussed at the next full council meeting on June 5.

A consultation was held last month looking at factors including reported corrosions of the steel reinforcement to the Esplanade chalets which require an estimated £885,000 worth of remedial works.

The gardens were part of the Wilton Estate and were gifted to the council in 1902.

Cllr Bruce said: “We will be looking at the consultation process in June and making a decision on what if anything is going to be done in July.

“What we are looking for is people who will come forward and will find a solution to ensure the chalets are maintained.

“Nobody should believe it is already a done deal and that the council aren’t listening to what people want. We are looking for some solution which everyone is happy about.”

Geraldine Owen started the petition on April 3 and said the petition was about raising awareness of the future of a ‘calm and tranquil’ area.

She said: “It’s not about the chalets.

“It’s about the whole Greenhill Gardens area.

“I just started the petition because people didn’t know there was a consultation process.

“It was just getting the word out.

“My intention was to get the word out that there’s potential for redevelopment.”

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