‘Incompetent’ council chiefs blasted over delays to revamp garden by | Gloucester News Centre - http://gloucesternewscentre.co.uk/
‘Incompetent’ civic chiefs have been blasted after photographs of a £35,000 Gloucester garden refurbishment show the site covered in weeds and rubbish.
The Wellington Parade Garden, better known as the Rose Garden, was boarded up in 2018 after residents complained of drunk people shouting, being abusive at residents and urinating in public.
Gloucester City Council applied to the Great Western Railway Customer and Communities Improvement Fund in 2020 for £35,000 to help in the project to renew and upgrade the garden.
And council chiefs told councillors last week that the Rose Garden redevelopment had been completed after consultation with close residents and that it was due to be opened in October.
But Councillor Alastair Chambers (Matson and Robinswood), who had asked what was happening with the site, stood up during the meeting at North Warehouse and showed pictures of the garden in a terrible state.
“I took these photos an hour ago. There are two to three foot weeds in there, overgrown brambles, these are the bins in there as well. It’s littered.
“So these gardens which are being done for £35,000 have definitely not been finished. It’s definitely not been completed. When’s the garden going to be finished?”
Council leader Richard Cook (C, Kingsway) said the physical structural work has been done but the reason the planting has not been done is because of the recent drought.
“If we planted it, they would have all died long before we took the boards down,” he said.
“So we’ve waited to do the planting at such a time when we are ready to take the boards down and open the garden to the public. Otherwise the plants we put in there would die.”
Councillor Jeremy Hilton (LD, Kingsholm and Wotton) said the project to create a new garden has dragged on for too long. He said there are not enough staff working at the council and those that are are overworked.
He said: “Tory council incompetence is staggering. Earlier this year, I agreed with officers that we would aim to reopen the garden in October of this year, to allow time for the new plants to bed in and get established.
“The removal of the old wall, clearing of the garden and the laying of main footpaths through the garden had been completed. The roses were transferred to the garden at the Heritage Hub.
“However, many of the plants died during the dry summer days. Previously, I had been promised that Emerging Futures would be onsite from the beginning of August to maintain the garden. That didn’t happen. Most of the vegetation has shrivelled up and weeds are blooming.
“The council must ensure that the garden is prepared for it to be reopened by the end of October. New prickly shrubs and low lying bushes need to be planted, the hoardings taken down and the litter bin installed. More delay is unacceptable.
“Years ago, before the Tories slashed the number of people working for the city council a simple project like this would have been done in house and done in good time.
“It hasn’t and I’m are getting fed up by incompetent project delivery by the ‘vanishing council’.”
By Carmelo Garcia – Local Democracy Reporter
Gloucester News Centre – http://gloucesternewscentre.co.uk