SOUTHBOURNE’S “front garden” has been destroyed in another blow in the fight to keep the Crossroads car park. 

The previously green and vibrant garden on the corner of the car park was believed to have been dug up and removed on Monday and Tuesday. 

According to residents, fencing was believed to have been put up around two weeks ago while BCP Council shut the car park in mid-January. 

Southbourne resident Jon Nicholas said the “destruction” is “heartbreaking and depressing”, adding it had been a “haven for respite and bees and birds”. 

Bournemouth Echo: Southbourne Crossroads garden

Bournemouth Echo: Southbourne Crossroads garden

He said: “I walked past it with my son and said ‘oh my God, it’s gone’. The last time I was there was a week ago and it looked markedly different then. 

“But I can see digger tracks in the garden section now, the car park is still there though.” 

He added: “Regardless of what you hear or read, the deal was done in 2017. It seems the buck is being passed, but there is no doubt about when this travesty was sealed.  

“Simply awful. Might and money crush wellbeing once more.” 

Meanwhile Neil Bowery, who lives close to the car park, said the removal came as a “shock”, adding the patch was “like our front garden”. 

Bournemouth Echo: The garden beforeThe garden before (Image: Daily Echo)

Bournemouth Echo:

Bournemouth Echo: Tobias Ellwood speaking with residentsTobias Ellwood speaking with residents (Image: Newsquest)

He added: “They came down on Monday and Tuesday to dig it all up, all the greenery. The fence went up around two weeks ago and usually you get sparrows and starlings in the bushes and the garden. 

“But since it went up, I haven’t seen one bird. Whenever you would walk past, all you could hear is the chirping of the birds in the bushes.” 

Developer Vivir Estates has planning permission to build four apartment blocks comprising of 27 flats at the site after one refusal and one non-determination – both of which were successfully appealed. 

Meanwhile Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood, who continues to campaign against the scheme, said: “It’s very sad to see Bournemouth lose yet another car park, but also worrying that work has commenced here before both the residents’ ‘right to light’ issue and confirmation the cliff edge will not collapse (following the pile driving) have been resolved.” 

Together with residents, Mr Ellwood is trying to get the decision overturned by pointing out residents in the flats behind deserve a ‘right to light’ under the Prescription Act of 1832. 

Eddie Fitzsimmons, director at the Poole-based firm, has been approached by the Echo for a comment.