Worthing residents have united in the face of what they describe as damaging changes to Beach House Park.
Led by Janice Kordek, a group of dog walkers and park users are lobbying Worthing Borough Council to reinstate shrubs along the Brighton Road entrance to the park that were ripped out recently as part of renovation plans.
The 70-year-old, of Park Road, Worthing, said the wall of bushes was a barrier to the noise and air pollution along the road, and felt the public had not been consulted.
She said she first knew about the change was a sign put up outside the park, asking people what flowers they would like planted in their place. Janice said: “We don’t want bulbs. We already have beautiful bulbs.
“We want our shrubs back to protect this park and to protect the people in it.”
She said one reason the bushes were removed was due to antisocial behaviour concerns – but added that the park gates were often unlocked in the evenings.
In December, the council announced plans to plant more than 1,700 new plants in the south of the park as part of a larger scheme to ‘attract more wildlife’. At the time, a spokesman said removing ‘older vegetation’ would ‘make space for a new varied planting scheme as well as a variety of bulbs species to give colour and nectar through the spring and summer for bees and other insects and increase our ecosystems within this area of the park’.
Jane Hanson, of Wyke Avenue, Worthing, said she was ‘horrified’ by the shrubs’ removal. Her neighbour Clare Sykes, 47, echoed this and added the space looked ‘grey’ and a ‘few bulbs and a choice of colourful blooms didn’t cut it’.
Scot O’Connell, 56, of Lyndhurst Road, Worthing, said: “I think it is utterly disgraceful. Communication should have been key from the start.”
Gesturing to a muddy patch where the shrubs were, he added: “I love a colourful border, but this is what we’ll have to look at in the winter months. I mean, just look at the state of it.”
This comes as the council intended to form a Friends of Beach House Park group.
A public meeting will take place tomorrow night (January 16) at East Worthing Community Centre to discuss concerns.
Worthing Borough Council has been approached for comment.