BOURNEMOUTH’S Lower Gardens has been branded a “shambles” because of graffiti which is being left uncleaned. 

The appearance of the historic Victorian garden leading to the seafront reflects a lack of investment or money, a councillor said. 

Calls have been made to the Lower Gardens Trust Board to “try harder” on upkeeping the Lower Gardens by removing graffiti, maintaining infrastructure and keeping the place tidy. 

Bournemouth councillor Stephen Bartlett told the board he went for a walk through the gardens recently and noted “the state, the graffiti, the damage” had left him “quite saddened and very disappointed”.

Bournemouth Echo: A messy Lower Gardens

Bournemouth Echo: A messy Lower Gardens

He said: “I don't want to just pick out anyone in particular but [...] the Lower Gardens which used to reflect our heads of civic pride is now gone and it reflects the lack of investment, the lack of money. 

“It's not anything unusual that other towns are suffering, but the Lower Gardens was the place that we could put ourselves on show and we're not doing that anymore.” 

Cllr Bartlett said it is “in decline”, pointing out there are six directors, a chief executive, an operations executive and “God knows how many people” yet it is a “shambles”. 

“We really need to try harder. This board itself is failing in its duty as well in order to make sure the gardens are kept in accordance with the purposes of the charity for which it was established,” he said. 

Kate Langdown, director of environment at BCP Council, said: “We would agree that we’re not able to deliver the level of service that we historically have delivered or want to deliver. 

“We are working as directors within the council’s spending control requirements that have been imposed on us so we are delivering to a statutory minimum.” 

Bournemouth Echo: A messy Lower Gardens

Bournemouth Echo: Redhill councillor Stephen BartlettRedhill councillor Stephen Bartlett

This means “offensive” graffiti will be removed but other graffiti will not be prioritised, the meeting heard. 

She added work to repaint lampposts, as an example, has been paused due to “funding restrictions” by the council. But utility boxes with graffiti can’t be removed “because they’re not council property”. 

Cllr Bartlett asked whether there had been consideration to move the Christmas ice rink to a different location, putting an end to the yearly mess of the grass being killed off and leaving mud. 

The meeting heard how alternative locations had been considered but a reason for not moving it to there could not be given. 

Ms Langdown added there has been an extended wet period has been “exceptionally bad” this year.