THE planting of a new £20,000 garden at Splash Point, Worthing, has left residents “shocked and angry”, after they were told their flower beds had to be filled in due to lack of funds.
As featured in the Herald two weeks ago, there was outcry when the fish-shaped flower beds in New Parade were filled in with turf, after Worthing Borough Council claimed they were too expensive to maintain.
Now, New Parade residents have spoken of their anger upon hearing of the new garden at Splash Point.
New Parade resident Carol Walker said: “I am just so shocked. Surely it will be far more expensive to maintain a whole garden than just our flower beds. I feel this is pretty hypocritical of the council, it makes me mad. I would like to know where they are getting the money from.”
Fellow resident Anna Whant added: “My first reaction is that I don’t believe the council will maintain this garden. I can’t believe they are doing this, it’s like giving with one hand and taking away with the other. To me, there is no difference between a seafront garden and our seafront flower beds. Both of them are there to spruce up the area for visitors.”
The new garden is the final phase of the £500,000 Splash Point regeneration project, and will be dedicated to the RNLI.
Both the garden and the project are being funded through the remainder of Worthing’s allocation from the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment’s (CABE) Seachange programme, a government scheme dedicated to regenerate Britain’s seaside resorts.
When the garden is complete, there will be a dedication ceremony for the lifeboat crews on May 7, 2012. The lifeboat memorial slate boulder designed by the Worthing Society – which is currently sited at Splash Point – will also be re-engraved and re-sited in the garden.
Worthing cabinet member for regeneration Bryan Turner said: “This garden will complete the Splash Point regeneration project beautifully. It will create a visual link between Splash Point and the spectacular views to the east.
“We will be delighted to dedicate the garden to the lifeboat crews who have for many years served the area so well and saved so many lives. The memorial garden will be a space where people can come and sit amongst the planting to reflect, relax and enjoy the views.”
Worthing Borough Council defended the construction of the garden, saying it had always been part of the regeneration project approved by CABE.
A spokesperson said: “The garden is a requirement of the CABE funding, and is funded through remaining Seachange monies which were granted for this purpose. The planting will be sustainable and low maintenance and will not require replacement for several years.”