Victory For War Memorial Garden Campaigners

Controversial garden work is suspended

The garden around the Wimbledon Village War Memorial will be returned to its former state in advance of the annual Remembrance service after council staff started work to replace it with gravel.

A number of residents expressed concern at council workmen using a bulldozer to clear the garden, which was originally part of Wimbledon Common.

Some locals had offered to tend the landmark garden at their own expense and were disappointed that it looked like it was to be replaced with gravel.

But, following the objections, Merton council's Director of Environment has written to Village ward councillors to confirm the works have been suspended and the garden will be returned to its former state.

However, the plans will be reconsidered once the November Remembrance service has passed. Click here for details of the November 11 service.

Village Ward Councillor Samantha George said: "This represents a victory for all those who wrote in to protest against this. Thank goodness that the Council has finally come to its senses.

"I am delighted that the War Memorial Garden will be returned to its former glory for this year’s Annual Remembrance Service. The Garden provides a suitable setting for a place of solemn reflection – as it has done since 1919".

Fellow ward Councillor John Bowcott added: "We will be calling on the Council to conduct a full consultation with local residents over their plans. It is only right and fitting that the community is consulted about any changes to the Memorial to its war dead".

Merton council leader Stephen Alambritis confirmed the work had been suspended and that the grass would be returned in time for the annual Remembrance Day service.

He said there would then be further consultation with local councillors and residents, including taking on board the offer by locals to help look after the garden. "We will have something better as a result of this and it will be a fitting tribute. There was no intention to be disrespectful", he added.

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October 1, 2012