Resignation deals blow to Chiswick site restoration plans

£12m Chiswick House & Gardens Trust suffers blow with resignation of leading committee member

Controversial plans for a £12m grounds regeneration project by Chiswick House & Gardens Trust have suffered a blow with the resignation of a leading committee member, Marcus Binney, who is prominent in the conservation of historic buildings. The trust has made a £12m bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to restore the grounds of the London landmark. Binney left the joint initiative between Hounslow Council and English Heritage because of his concerns that “the bid should not be approved until plans for the house and archaeological significance have been fully explored”. Plans include extending the use of the grounds for corporate entertainment, restoring the house to its former glory and replanting a shrubbery. Local campaigner Joseph Mirwich said: “The trust has failed to carry out meaningful consultation.” He added: “There will be a reduction of public access to accommodate the corporate and private entertainment and the marring of a historic walled garden.” But English Heritage project director Martin Clayton believes that a balance has to be struck between heritage considerations and the need for sustainability. He added: “The tragedy is if we lose this opportunity to restore the gardens they will just continue to decline and this hugely important historic landscape will be lost.” The bid falls under the HLF public parks initiative and the project can take place only if the trust works successfully. A Chiswick House representative said: “The park is the priority for investment and restoration.”

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