Bognor residents furious as flower-beds in beloved garden turfed over

Residents of The Steyne are furious after flower beds in the adjacent gardens were turfed over in a ‘re-wilding’ effort by Arun District Council.

Emilia, Bob, Andy and Ali- residents of The Styene standing over one of the turfed flower beds
Emilia, Bob, Andy and Ali- residents of The Styene standing over one of the turfed flower beds

Four flower beds have been turfed over and residents claim they were a source of comfort and solace during lockdown.

Alison Sheppey, who has lived with her husband at The Steyne for 18 years, said: “It’s penny pinching. It makes my blood boil. We have been stuck inside for nearly a year now, we should be looking after our gardens.”

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

The decision comes only eight months after residents complained that the gardens were messy and overgrown, having been neglected for nearly 12 months, though they have since been restored.

Mrs Sheppey said: “The bushes were everywhere and the path was covered. It was dreadful.”

A spokesperson for Arun District Council claims the flower beds were turfed to reduce the district’s carbon footprint and improve sustainability.

It has promised to replace the flower beds with four cherry trees, ‘more herbaceous planting and some wildflower glades’ but residents worry that doing so will simply turn the gardens into a ‘field’.

The flower beds were also discussed at the recent town council open forum, when cllr Jim Brooks said Arun District Council should reconsider which spaces were appropriate for re-wilding.

He said: “If something has gardens in the name it is clearly a visitor attraction.”

Councillor Adam Cunard also supported the idea of making The Steyne Gardens ‘traditional’.

A spokesperson for Bognor Regis Town council said Mr Brooks and Matt Stanley were in discussion with Arun District Council, as they are also district councillors.

Alongside the loss of the flower beds, residents of The Steyne have spent the last 18 months living alongside development work at the nearby Royal Hotel, which is being refurbished and converted into 27 luxury modern apartments.

Nick Laurence, who is in charge of the development, said: “We stick to the noise rules and my door is always open if someone has any issues. We’re happy to engage with them and see if we can find a happy medium for everyone involved.”