Ex-chairman’s growing fury over Gardens

Annie Watson, former chairman of the Friends of the Storey Gardens, pictured in the gardens in 2014. PIC BY ROB LOCK 24-6-2014
Annie Watson, former chairman of the Friends of the Storey Gardens, pictured in the gardens in 2014. PIC BY ROB LOCK 24-6-2014

A champion of the Storey Gardens says the priority should be to get the gardens open again – not restore artwork inside them.

Annie Watson, former chairman of the Friends of the Storey Gardens, disagrees with plans to give campaigners 12 months to raise cash to bring back the Storey’s Tasting Garden.

Ms Watson resigned as chairman last year over the issue.

“All this fighting about a piece of art which, frankly, most of Lancaster doesn’t give a flying hoot about,” she said. “This is a community space, it’s not for the artistic elite of Lancaster. I’m very disappointed.”

Ms Watson quit shortly after attending a Lancaster City Council cabinet meeting in December 2014 when council leader Eileen Blamire said: “Having visited the garden and talked to people there, I think we should give them a year to raise the funding they need.”

The cabinet recently met again and decided not to restore the artwork due to current financial woes, but their decision was ‘called in’ by the council overview and scrutiny committee. The cabinet then did a U-turn and officially gave the Friends a year to raise an estimated £20,000.

National and international figures from the world of art have called on the council to restore the Tasting Garden, which included metal fruits which were stolen several years ago.

The Friends of the Storey Gardens declined to comment.