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Whitstable worry: proposed plans for the Castle Grounds
I went to the Castle grounds today. It is one of my favourite places in Whitstable, a place of quiet beauty and serenity, perfect for contemplation.
Currently the Castle itself is closed, awaiting renovation, which it sorely needs. But did you know that as part of the renovation the gardens are to be extensively reconstructed and that as many as 100 trees are due to be felled, including some venerable and ancient specimens?
The council website is dreadful. It disguises the extent of the destruction in platitudes and spin. There’s no sign of what they have in mind. But a friend of mine has obtained a copy of the plans in which the trees to be felled are marked in yellow. The whole map is a swathe of sickly yellow showing the full extent of the intended massacre. Vast areas are due for destruction.
How dare the council do this to this much-loved part of our Whitstable heritage? Already all the benches are gone, and parts of the undergrowth ripped to shreds. The area is looking very sad. What the council fails to realise is that the gardens are a haven for wildlife and the very denseness of the shrubbery was part of its attraction.
According to a letter I have from Ian Brown, the Head of Regeneration and Economic Growth for Canterbury City Council, “the proposals are a result of extensive consultation”. Pardon? I don’t remember being consulted. When, exactly, did this consultation take place, and where?
My sister, who lives next-door-but-one to the park and is therefore directly affected, has also not been consulted. I wonder how many more people have not been consulted in this exercise in “extensive consultation”?
Have you been consulted?
There are paper notices, like the one wrapped around a post across the road from the gates, which contain a minimal amount of information. “To fell a number of trees and shrubs in connection with the lottery heritage grant for the restoration of Whitstable castle and grounds.”
I think if they were to mark out the actual number of trees they intend to destroy more people would take notice.