I was deeply shocked to read on the internet that there have been plans to sell part of Ashton Gardens for development. I cannot believe that a responsible body could even consider spoiling such a potentially valuable asset for what must be a relatively small financial gain.
We first visited St Annes some 48 years ago when my wife was 17 and I was 19. It was our first holiday together and we stayed (in separate rooms I might add) at a B & B behind the railway. We have many happy memories of St Annes and many photographs that were taken in Ashton Gardens.
After we were married, one of our favourite destinations for days out from Merseyside with our children was St Annes, and they also grew to love and enjoy exploring the Gardens. We still frequently view the colour slides of the flower beds in all their colorful beauty. 25 years ago we moved to the Isle of Man, but three years ago we came with our extended family - children and grandchildren - numbering 20, to holiday up at Bispham. Needless to say we just had to visit St Annes and Ashton Gardens.
Now the younger generations of our family have fallen in love with St Annes and the Gardens resulting in us just having spent 2 weeks in the town, and my youngest daughter and her family are coming at half term in October. The whole family is seriously considering booking accommodation for 2003, as they all appreciate the slower pace and restful atmosphere of St. Annes.
It would be a tragedy to spoil Ashton Gardens in any way. You should take note of the reversal of policy in the likes of Liverpool and Manchester, where public parks and open spaces were neglected and allowed to fall into decay for a long time. Now Calderstones Park and Sefton Park including the newly renovated Palm House have been transformed as the council realise the importance of such public areas. St Annes should open their eyes and learn by the mistakes made by these authorities and should make every effort to preserve and indeed restore Ashton Gardens to their former glory.
I walked through the gardens many times during my stay and did read in the local press of residents' concern over the gardens. Now I wonder if the indifferent attitude of the local authority is deliberately designed to run down the condition of the gardens in order to make out a case to dispose of it for redevelopment. Certainly I saw youngsters in the park at dusk. Some riding mountain bikes around the grounds and even over the
aluminium seating. Others playing in and gathering in the play area using the equipment which was certainly not designed for their use.
Once I saw a Police car drive down past the War Memorial and everything was quiet. Two minutes after it had pulled out on to Clifton Road North all the activities started again. Not very effective policing, but I suppose it can be claimed the gardens were being patrolled. Early morning one could see the devastation caused the night before. Beer cans scattered around. Seats moved and tipped over. Bottles smashed on the paths and on the grass areas. Not very good for a visitor and responsible dog owner to have an early morning stroll.
|David C Worsley
"Here is support from New Zealand for your campaign to preserve the Pavilion. St. Annes is my birthplace --- and Ashton Gardens is (or was) a beautiful garden area.--
As a child I was present at the dedication of the War Memorial, and in my youth I was introduced to Billiards and Snooker in the Ashton Institute Pavilion; I believe it has been considerably upgraded since then.
Although I left town 50 years ago, every time I visit Britain I go to the Gardens. I support most strongly the retention of the Pavilion, and any plans for restoring the Gardens to their former glory---they looked decidedly neglected the last time I visited. I wish you success to your most worthy campaign."