Work at Plumstead Gardens is now underway though concerns have been raised after a local resident spotted paving slabs around 70 years old being dug up.
The flag stones are an intrinsic part of the remaining character of the gardens. A member of the park’s friends group stated:
“As you can imagine we were not best pleased about this, not just because of the lack of communication from RBG but because these stones are an original feature of the gardens and one we are not willing to part with”.
Upon asking why the paving slabs were being removed, they were told it was being tarmacked over. Then they later then assured they would be returned. One to watch. Local people in the parks group were not involved of what was happening.
It was stated that:
“Our usual contact from RBG Parks and Open spaces was very apologetic for the lack of communication and although she wasn’t able to answer all of our questions she has assured us that they will not be replaced with tarmac and that the stones will be stored because she and RBG understand the importance of preserving the history of the park by repairing and reusing original materials wherever possible.”
The contact was not the person who authorised the work, and the person that did authorise it was apparently on leave when contact was attempted. People are confused as to why stones would be removed to begin with. There was no trip hazard.
Concern is understandable. In the 1990s an ornamental garden, pond and bridge in the gardens was unceremoniously destroyed by Greenwich Council.
Long term neglect set in and the area regularly floods. As someone who grew up locally and always loved visiting (the BMX track was great – it’s now gone) it was dismaying to see it decline. The authority trashing the pond and gardens is something I’ll never forget when walking in one day. A massive waste. It felt like a big two fingers to the area. It wasn’t just removing the bridge and pond, but then leaving the broken rubble and mess on site for years. Couldn’t care less seemed the way of thinking.
It’s things like that which over a long period led to me starting this site.
The project will also remove another feature in the park as the child paddling pool is to be re-landscaped:
Given the history of this site and wider area it’s not difficult to understand why people are worried. It’s certainly one to monitor.