Battle council out-of-pocket after Abbey Green tubs bid rejected

Abbey Green, Battle
Abbey Green, Battle

Councillors expressed their disappointment at not being able to use new tree tubs purchased for Abbey Green after English Heritage rejected the scheme.

Battle Town Council had plans to give land outside the abbey gatehouse a makeover with replacement planters and hanging baskets.

It said English Heritage agreed to the idea in principle but once the council finalised the details, the organisation responsible for the abbey said no, rendering the tubs the council had bought redundant, according to a meeting on Tuesday.

Some councillors complained about English Heritage’s lack of involvement in the town and the ‘unfair agreement’ whereby the local authority is responsible for Abbey Green’s upkeep but the charity owns it and can veto anything the council wants to do.

Chairman Margaret Kiloh said: “All the problems are the town council’s problems, not theirs [English Heritage].

“They complained about the rotten oak planters but they weren’t prepared to pay for new ones.”

She said when she and other councillors met with English Heritage to discuss the plans to add hanging baskets, new trees, and to replace the planters, there was no sign it would be an issue so some things were bought in advance.

However, members heard on Tuesday English Heritage wanted as little as possible on the green so not to detract from the gatehouse.

Cllr Kiloh also said the charity may wish to reduce the height of the current trees, much to the dismay of East Sussex County councillor Kathryn Field and others..

English Heritage fully rejected the accusations it had no interest in the town and property manager Jo Stewart said the concerns centred around the impact on the abbey.

“Unfortunately we believe that the use of high level poles, posts or displays recently proposed would be visually detrimental to the area, and this was our feedback to the council,” she said.

“English Heritage is keen to work productively with the local council to enhance the Abbey Green, and have already communicated our support for the replacement of low level planters, benches and floral displays.”

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