Reprieve for Chiswell Green's Gardens of the Rose?
PUBLISHED: 07:56 02 April 2010 | UPDATED: 15:02 06 May 2010
A DECISION to close one of the city s most popular attractions this summer could be reversed if temporary planning permission for a car park can be obtained in time. The Gardens of the Rose in Chiswell Green claimed on its website that it would not be ope
A DECISION to close one of the city's most popular attractions this summer could be reversed if temporary planning permission for a car park can be obtained in time.
The Gardens of the Rose in Chiswell Green claimed on its website that it would not be opening to the public this summer but failed to give a reason.
Chief executive of the Royal National Rose Society (RNRS) Roz Hamilton is currently unwell but the society's solicitor Bernadette Hillman said the closure was due to a long-standing problem with car parking.
The situation arose because the RNRS sold part of its land to Butterfly World but failed to insert a clause in the contract stating that their visitors could share the new attraction's car park.
The RNRS used its overflow car park when it reopened last year but residents have complained that they don't like visitors parking there because it is at the top of a hill and visible from the road as well as in the Green Belt.
Cllr Chris Brazier, planning portfolio holder for St Albans District Council, has been involved in protracted discussions to resolve the problems between Butterfly World and the Rose Garden. He has now urged the society to apply for temporary planning permission for the overflow car park.
He said: "It has royal patronage and people come from all over the world to visit this site. We do not want to jeopardise an attraction which is good for tourism and economic regeneration.
"I understood they were negotiating with The Noke Hotel to try and use land at the back there for parking but apparently this has come to nothing.
"I was also told that they had come to an agreement with Butterfly World to share the car park. But then the Rose Garden complained that their visitors were being turned away from the car park."
Cllr Brazier suggested that a temporary planning permission for the overflow car park might be the way forward for this year but only if some more permanent resolution to the problems could be found for the future.
The five-and-a-half-acre rose garden has two major income streams - its membership and visitors.
Ms Hillman said: "I think we may try to apply for temporary planning permission. We did not realise this may be an option. It will be financially crippling for us if we can't open this year."
The RNRS was hoping to increase its income by holding weddings and exhibitions on the site but the lack of parking has prevented that from happening.