Grant sees refurbishment work start on war memorial park

Work has started on the refurbishment of a war memorial park in east London.

Havering Council's grounds maintenance staff at work on the first stage of the project
Havering Council's grounds maintenance staff at work on the first stage of the project

Coronation Gardens in Romford, the location of the town’s main war memorial, is benefitting from a £50,000 grant from the Veolia North Thames Trust (VNTT).

Staff from Havering Council's in-house parks service have started on the initial stage of the works, including removing existing plants and shrubs around the perimeter of the gardens and planting new beech hedging around three sides. Existing yew trees and two memorial trees will be kept.

The authority is contributing £40,000 to the project and £35,000 has been secured from the Mayor of London's fund.

The second phase of the works will involve removing the tall conifer trees that have come to the end of their natural lives across the rear of the gardens, and repaving the central path with sawn York Stone paving slabs.

Havering may contract out some of this work, a spokeswoman said.

It is currently seeking permission from the Church of England which needs to approve the work as Coronation Gardens was created on the site of a 19th century graveyard. The site, which originally had a chapel as well as a burial ground, was re-landscaped as a public open gardens in 1953 to celebrate the coronation of the Queen. The Romford War Memorial was moved to the gardens in 1970 when it was removed from its original position in the town to make way for a ring road.

The council is also proposing installing new side paths and four tall obelisks and plinths to carry additional names of those fallen during war, once the names are verified and providing additional funding can be raised.

Cabinet member for culture and community engagement councillor Melvin Wallace said: "We’re really very grateful for the additional funding. Coronation Gardens is an important part of the town for many people, and the works will make a huge difference to the atmosphere and personal experience when visiting."

In November 2013, VNNT awarded £86,000 to restore five of the London borough’s main war memorials, in Harold Hill, Upminster, Rainham, Romford and Hornchurch.

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