A COUNCILLOR is urging residents to get behind his bid to keep two public gardens on Portland open.

At a recent full council meeting, Councillor Paul Kimber brought forward a motion of notice for Weymouth and Portland Borough Council to look at the possibility of finding a budget to continue maintaining Victoria Gardens in Underhill and Easton Gardens.

Proposed cuts to the parks budget in Weymouth and Portland, which would save almost £150,000 over the next two years, could lead to the closure of the only two gardens on Portland.

Coun Kimber’s motion said: “Following the recent decision to explore the return of maintenance for Victoria and Easton Gardens to the Crown Estate/community groups, we, the following Portland councillors, find the proposal for budget savings in respect of maintenance of these gardens to be unacceptable.

“We welcome partnerships with community groups and applaud the wonderful work and support our community groups contribute to the life of our gardens on Portland.

“Therefore, we demand these gardens be kept open and that a budget for the maintenance of the gardens is maintained.”

Coun Kimber was supported at the full council meeting by councillors Margaret Leicester, David Hawkins, Ray Nowak and Amanda Munro.

He said residents were ‘very concerned’ and said he understood there are ‘budgetary issues.’ “Please, our gardens are well loved and well used and we absolutely need them,” he said.

Speaking after the meeting, Coun Kimber said he wants all residents who use and enjoy the gardens to write to the council calling for the green spaces to stay open.

He said: “I never thought I would have to bring forward a motion of notice like this.

“We stand by our gardens, they give so much pleasure to so many people.

“The gardens in Underhill were given to the children of Underhill by Queen Victoria.

“We need to make sure that Portland keeps its public gardens.

“We want people to write to the council and say we must keep our gardens.”

A budget working group examining areas to save money found that a further £74,000 would be saved in 2015/16 by exploring the return of maintenance for Victoria and Easton Gardens to the Crown Estate agents and/or community groups.

Councillors will vote on the issue at the management committee meeting in February.