Save Gunnersbury Campaign Plants 'Garden of Resistance'

Says this is opening move in summer of opposition to 'exploitation' of park

Gunnersbury Heritage Campaign Plants 'Garden of Resistance'
The 'Garden of Resistance' is near to the Old Cricket Pitch

May 10, 2024

A group of ‘Save Gunnersbury Park’ campaigners have secretly planted a ‘Garden of Resistance’ in the grounds in what it says is the beginning of a series of events through the summer.

At the centre of the garden, which is by the old cricket pitch at the southern end of the park, is a plaque which states ‘Say No to Commercial Exploitation by the local councils and CIC. This garden symbolizes community efforts to preserve natural beauty and resist exploitation by festivals and corporations, who take up this space every summer.”

The plaque and the flower patch was removed by park management shortly after it was put in place.

The site was chosen because the group claims that over usage by large corporate events has led to the soil becoming compacted by trucks and increasingly prone to waterlogging. It says that, according to RHS testing carried out in 2023, the ground requires liming as it is now strongly acidic and that parts of the area can no longer sustain life as evidenced by the large empty patches of ground.

Some soil has been spread over affected areas, but campaigners claim this has been insufficient to properly repair the site.

The Save Gunnersbury Park group says that their primary objective of the campaign is to address what they describe as the escalating disruptions, noise pollution, and access restrictions caused by a relentless schedule of paid music and members-only events.

Close up of the plaque at the centre of the flower patch
Close up of the plaque at the centre of the flower patch

In a statement emailed to this site by ‘Gunnersbury Heritage’, an associated campaing group, it continues, “It is our firm belief that this trajectory not only undermines the historical significance of Gunnersbury Park but also disregards the well-being of local residents and wildlife.

“Our concerns are rooted in a profound commitment to preserving Gunnersbury Park as a sanctuary for all, in accordance with its original covenant. While we recognise the importance of some commercial activity, we advocate for a balanced approach that prioritises community engagement, transparency, and environmental sustainability.”

The campaigners say that damage to the park is not being properly repaired
The campaigners say that damage to the park is not being properly repaired

The group promise that the Garden of Resistance is the opening salvo to a planned summer of protest ahead of the festivals and other events due to take place.

Gunnersbury Heritage has made a series of complaints and requests for information to Ealing and Hounslow Councils. The latter has rejected a request for a formal inquiry and now the group says that if the councils fail to respond within the statutory time limit, it will take the complaints to the Ombudsman, ultimately seeking a reversal of the licence granted by the councils to the governing Gunnersbury Park Community Interest Company.

The management of the park has consistently defended its policy of hiring out the park during the summer months for music festivals and other events such as Secret Cinema, saying that the revenue is used for essential maintenance of the parks.

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