London Flower Show National Trust "concern"

Tickets for the twice-cancelled London Flower Show were still on sale on the event's website, more than two weeks after the National Trust announced it would not go ahead at Osterley Park.

Booking complete: Long after Osterley Park announced the event was cancelled
Booking complete: Long after Osterley Park announced the event was cancelled

Horticulture Week was able to buy an adult ticket for the first day of the event, due to be held at the west London National Trust (NT) property from 7 -9 September, from the website on 11 August, despite the NT announcing on 30 July the event would not take place there. 

So far the show’s organiser Live Industry of Bethnal Green, east London, has not responded to requests for comment and it is not clear if its managing director Sam Speaight is working on a back-up venue or what he plans to do on ticket refunds. 

Following publication of this story this morning, the status of tickets on the website has changed to 'cancelled'.

Commercial manager for Osterley Park and House Sophie Slater said her team were disappointed the event would no longer be taking place at Osterley "due to circumstances beyond our control".

"We are concerned that information found on-line still names Osterley Park as the venue and would urge ticket holders to contact the event organisers for clarification on the current status of the event," she said.

The show, originally to be held in September 2015 in Victoria Park, east London was cancelled for the first time last July.

It was re-launched this year and got a boost when award-winning garden designer, TV presenter, journalist and author, Ann-Marie Powell came on board as creative director in March. She stepped down in July and has not been involved since.

Experienced horticulturist Nigel Gibson, who worked on the project as curator, also cut ties in March.

Nevertheless both still appear on the website promoting the show. 

Both have asked for their photographs and biographies to be taken down and have had no further involvement after they left.  

Gibson said: "I don’t know what’s been going on at all. I think it’s a really good idea and I think it would’ve been a really good show but it doesn’t seem to want to happen somehow."

He said he did not feel good about the continued association but there was nothing he could do.

"I was employed as a consultant only. I can only ask him (Sam Speaight) to remove my face but if he doesn’t, he doesn’t."

A spokeswoman for Ann-Marie Powell said: "We aren’t entirely sure what has happened since we moved away from the event, but in July it was an amicable end when Ann-Marie did, and based purely on the fact Ann-Marie delivered substantial value to the event and Live Industry weren’t at that stage fulfilling the production side.

"Given Ann-Marie’s other commitments and her own design studio workload the decision was made for her to withdraw so that her focus could be elsewhere."

Disappointed ticketholders can at least get some comfort from the NT, however, which has offered them entrance to the Georgian estate created by architect Robert Adam.

Slater said: "Unfortunately, because this is an event run by a third party, we are unable to refund any tickets purchased through the event website.

"However, as a gesture of goodwill the National Trust will be offering complimentary access to the gardens at Osterley Park for London Flower Show ticket holders from the 8th to 11th of September."

Speaight has not responded to Horticulture Week’s requests for comment.

UPDATE: Following the publication of this story, we received a full refund for the ticket we bought.

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