In 1914, the town was split about the cost of acquiring the gardens. The Chairman of the Council Councillor J H Taylor said: "You can take it for granted that the ratepayers of the next generation would very seriously blame the present Council, and the ratepayers of the present generation, if they ever allowed the desecrating hand of the builder to fall upon St. George's Gardens."
When he gave the Council money to buy the land, Lord Ashton said:
"My Dear Sir,
Someone has been good enough to send me, anonymously, two St Annes newspapers dated the 9th and 16th instant, containing an account of a scheme for the purchasing and laying out of St George's Gardens.
There appears to be a difference of opinion amongst the ratepayers as to the desirability of carrying out the scheme, many of them fearing the effect upon the rate, and a poll of ratepayers is to take place.
Feeling as I do, an interest in the welfare of St Annes it would give me much pleasure to contribute to its prosperity and to the enjoyment of its residents and visitors. I shall, therefore, be glad to bear the cost of purchasing St. Georges Gardens, the price of which is, I see, £21,350, if the Urban District Council and its ratepayers will allow me.
Yours very faithfully
27 January 1914
When the Council of the day accepted Lord Ashton's gift, they resolved:
"That this Council in accepting the munificent offer of Lord Ashton desires to place on record its sincere appreciation of his magnificent gift to the town, which will ever remain as a monument of his benevolence and consideration for the present and future inhabitants of St Annes on the Sea".