Vandalism could derail ‘exciting plans’ for Sidmouth’s Connaught Gardens

Nicola Pomeroy says Gardens lack 'wow factor'

Nicola Pomeroy says Gardens lack 'wow factor' - Credit: Archant

One of the town’s most prestigious gardens has been plagued by a spate of vandalism that’s seen flowers pulled out and planters and features tipped over and broken.

Depleted flowerbeds at Connaught Gardens

Depleted flowerbeds at Connaught Gardens - Credit: Archant

Connaught Gardens is one of the jewels in the crown of East Devon’s beautiful parks and outdoor spaces, winning Britain in Bloom and Green Flag awards. But the teams that manage it say they are facing an uphill struggle to keep it in good shape.

A spokeswoman for East Devon District Council said: “Our StreetScene teams are feeling extremely frustrated and deeply upset that their hard work is being thwarted by ongoing anti-social behaviour at the gardens, which we have been experiencing since Christmas.

“Our teams are spending a lot of time putting this right, but the destruction has meant that the planting has not been able to establish itself as it would have usually at this time of year.”

The revelation follows complaints from holidaymakers that the Gardens were not up to their usual standard over Easter

Connaught Gardens in Sidmouth

Connaught Gardens in Sidmouth - Credit: Archant

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Piano teacher Nicola Pomeroy, visiting Sidmouth with her sister and brother-in-law from the West Midlands, has been coming to the town since the 1960s.

She said: “There used to be a wow factor but not anymore. It’s just a big disappointment. It has deteriorated over the last few years.

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“The wild flower meadow idea is okay but you have got to be prepared to have bare ground for most of the year.”

The EDDC spokeswoman added: ‘“We have some exciting ideas planned for Connaught, involving new borders and beds over the coming years, but we are concerned about putting in new plants, especially expensive specimen ones, with the current rate of vandalism. “

Depleted flowerbeds at Connaught Gardens

Depleted flowerbeds at Connaught Gardens - Credit: Archant

The Council blames a group of local youths. Among the suggestions to tackle the problem are staff patrols and mosquito noise devices in an attempt to make the Gardens a less appealing area for anti-social behaviour to take place.

EDDC has appealed to all users of Connaught Gardens to be on the look-out for any destructive behaviour and to report it immediately to the police, as well as the council.

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