A meeting requested at the beginning of June by Friends of Victoria Park about the City Council's plans to grass over 28 of the magnificent formal flower beds finally took place on Monday 20 August at Whiteinch Centre.
Officers from the Council's Land and Environmental Services explained that the plan to grass over 28 of the 59 beds was due to lack of operational resources - staffing and materials. They explained that the Council has been reducing flowerbeds across the city - a cut of almost 80% in the past decade. For the most part there have been no protests like the one held in Victoria Park on 28 June (see blog below.)
The officers acknowledged that the formal Victorian Gardens in the park which are listed by Historic Environment Scotland as a designated landscape are unique but argued that this can't be used as case to continue planting.
They intend to plant all 59 beds with hyacinth bulbs once this year's summer bedding is lifted. If the proposal goes ahead as they expect, 28 of the outer beds will be grassed over next April when the bulbs are lifted.
All three of Victoria Park's Councillors attended the meeting, Ade Aibinu, Feargal Dalton and Maggie McTernan.
Land and Environmental Services were asked to provide more information on what they expect the savings to be and agreed to look at alternatives such as herbaceous planting that would need to be maintained but not replaced every season - however they gave no guarantees.
Another meeting has been set for Monday 17 September for Land Services to report back on the savings and the alternatives to grassing over.
In the meantime, can we appeal to everyone who loves the park to contact their councillors and give the Friends of Victoria Park the show of support we need as the flower beds are still very much at risk. We know how concerned the city is about the loss of our heritage in the wake of the dreadful Mackintosh fire - these wonderful flower beds are part of our heritage too. You will find contact details for Council Leader Susan Aitken and all the other councillors including those for Victoria Park Ward here.