RESIDENTS frustrated over the ongoing Druitt Gardens saga attended a packed council meeting in Christchurch this week.

Around 40 gathered at the Civic Offices to listen to councillors at the Community Services Committee after submitting two petitions over the protected land in the town centre in February.

Campaigners called for the council to abide by the covenant put on the gardens by Charlotte Druitt, who bequeathed them to Dorset County Council in 1946.

But councillors defended their work, and voted to support a recommendation that work undertaken by officers – in line with decisions taken by the council – were formally noted.

The petition, signed by 184 people, requested that the council “abide by the covenants”, which specify that the gardens should be used and maintained “as a town centre woodland, a nature reserve and public open space for the enjoyment of the general public”.

Councillor David Jones, pictured, questioned whether the land could be considered woodland, and said: “I have seen a description of this area as parkland.

“It occurs to me that this is all a question of interpretation. What is our defence if Dorset County Council were to seek to enforce this covenant on the basis that what we have created is not actually woodland, but managed parkland?”

Campaigners say the controversial felling of four protected trees in February had already breached the covenant.

Cllr Bernie Davies said: “The gardens are a living environment and will improve over the years. Despite what some people think, Miss Druitt might be pleased with what it might look like. I think it will look really good.”