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  • Writer's pictureNikki Latham

Chesil Radio Exclusive - Friends Of Radipole Park & Gardens AGM

Last month saw the Friends Of Radipole Park and Gardens Table Top Sale and AGM.

We have waited till now to report this story as we wanted a lovely day to come down to the Gardens and show you how beautiful this place is and update you with the news from the AGM, however the weather was not our side and then ill health.

Sadly, the Chairman, Mike Goulden has stepped down, and at the time of publishing, the Friends are looking for a Chairman and Vice Chairman for their committee, with their Secretary and Treasurer being re-elected.

As you may remember the Gardens were awarded some National Lottery funding before lockdown, and progress as you would expect as halted, with a new Development Manager from Weymouth Town Council, the wheels are now truly in motion to move forward, although sadly due to rising costs since then, with a few amendments to the original scheme. The planning changes and the lottery permissions should be with the team hopefully any day now and this would mean the work to start in March, with the contractors ready to go.

Kingston Maurward were due to be involved in the sensory garden, this will still go ahead without their input and funds that had been awarded to them for this have been returned to the pot.

The scheme had a shortfall and with the amended works the Town Council awarded an additional £150,000 to help with this. The scheme’s original budget was £1.2 million but in a few short years, and cost of living situation and cost of materials this has now risen to £1.6 million. It is a huge undertaking and much of the plans will remain unchanged.

The LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) has been approached about one of the elements that has had to be branched out for additional funding, and at the time those talks continue.

The café which was to have indoor seating, will now be a kiosk with outdoor seating under a canape. The toilets remain to be built with two unisex and a disabled/baby change facilities in a third. The kiosk will also reflect the history and heritage of the gardens as planned although scaled back slightly.

The plans to plant trees will still go ahead with 100 this year and 100 next, however, the original plan was to put in mature trees and these will now be younger ones, once again due to cost, but as the weather has been last year so hot, it will also make it easier to get these trees established and mature in situ.

The park will remain open during the works, but there may be areas which are restricted for this to be carried out safely. Events will also continue to be held and the works, should they start the works in March are hoping for completion end of August or beginning of September.

Although there has and will be some tree felling for the project, some of these are at the request of Network Rail and some to avoid the roots impeding on the new works.

The main element of the original plans that is not going to be going ahead is some drainage works, those costs for the works had spiralled to make that not viable to continue to progress.

It is a most beautiful place, and in the Summer, Chesil Radio's team love to come down here away from the hustle and bustle of the seafront. The details of how you can get involved in supporting The Friends Of Radipole Park and Gardens, are: and we hope that you will visit soon, the good weather hopefully is only just around the corner.


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