Concerns over £15,000 centenary floral installation for New Milton rec

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centenary new milton rec
New Milton War Memorial Recreation Ground

CONCERNS were raised over maintenance costs as £15,000 is set to be put towards a floral installation marking 100 years of New Milton’s War Memorial Recreation Ground.

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Members of the town council’s finance and general purposes committee reviewed the proposal for a Centenary Rose Garden to be placed on the south-west side of the green, off Whitefield Road.

The fixture will incorporate a raised oak timber pergola to allow a mix of bush and climbing roses, a gravel footway through it, and a bench for people to sit and view it.

As reported in the A&T, continuing government restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in all scheduled events on the green being postponed to next year. These include plans to commemorate the memorial’s 100th anniversary on 27th September.

Cllr Keith Craze questioned the ongoing financial implications of the garden after hearing the community would be encouraged to become involved in its upkeep.

He had also shared Cllr Alan O’Sullivan’s reservations as to whether it was allowed at the site under the terms of use for the War Memorial Charity.

“Putting it in place is one thing – I’m not sure if we are allowed to put it in at that site – but is it £5 per year to maintain, £50 per year or £500 per year?” Cllr Craze asked.

“Whilst it would be nice to think of the community being involved in dead-heading, I think there might be a lot more to it than that.”

In response, Cllr Geoffrey Blunden acknowledged there would be costs but, pointing out the proposal’s 12m by 4m size, he doubted these would be particularly high.

Members endorsed a recommendation that up to £15,000 of community infrastructure levy funds be put towards the project by a majority vote of eight to two. Cllrs Craze and O’Sullivan voted against.

Welcoming the idea, Cllr Neil Tungate said: “The one thing residents always come back to us about is our flower displays and how they brighten up the town and make it look pretty.”

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