Fight to save Butterfly World in St Albans still has wings
PUBLISHED: 17:00 07 June 2016
Pressure continues to be piled upon the company which suddenly closed a major St Albans butterfly sanctuary, but it is business as normal for a garden attraction which shares its car park.
Popular Butterfly World, off Noke Lane in Chiswell Green, was shut by owners the Breheny Group in December last year, because of a succession of trading losses.
Its closure sparked a campaign to save the sanctuary, which had been operating from the 27-acre Green Belt site for six years.
Save Butterfly World, a group of people passionate about the site, still hopes to save the habitat and reopen this “much loved resource”.
Chairman John Horsfield told the Herts Advertiser this week that he had met with representatives of St Albans district council to see if there was any way forward. The council has organised someone to liaise with the group.
John added: “I know of no-one in St Albans who doesn’t want Butterfly World returned for educational, economic and tourism reasons.
“But we really want to show that the people of St Albans support this project, and want it reopened.”
John said that, with the arrival of spring, visitors had started returning to Butterfly World, unaware that it was not going to reopen in 2016.
He went on: “They have been turned back, often with crying children. I am a great believer in the power of communities. If enough people want to make something happen, sometimes it can.”
The campaign group has applied for charitable status, and meets regularly to discuss the future of the site.
In the meantime, the sanctuary’s neighbour and showpiece gardens of the Royal National Rose Society (RNRS), The Gardens of the Rose, will shortly reopen for the season.
Roz Hamilton, chief executive of the RNRS, said that the gardens would reopen this Saturday, June 11, for seven days a week until Sunday, August 7.
She has met with Butterfly World chairman John Breheny, as the team had formed friendships and links with staff there.
Roz said John had been very accommodating, and had kindly agreed to allow the society to use the closed attraction’s car and coach park for the foreseeable future, and during summer opening times.
It is understood that the majority of staff who lost their jobs at Butterfly World have since gained new employment.
For ticket prices and more information on the gardens, see www.rnrs.org.uk/
To express your views on Butterfly World, email John Horsfield: firstname.lastname@example.org