‘Cost saving’ changes by Pembrokeshire County Council to one of Tenby’s picturesque public gardens overlooking Castle Beach have been labelled ‘hideous’ by nearby residents, leading to the ‘uglification’ of the seaside town.

Alterations to the Rotary Gardens located near Tenby harbour are being implemented by the County Council in an attempt to ‘reduce costs’ - with a similar stance taken by the local authority a couple of years ago at the Paragon gardens overlooking the South Beach.

PCC then told members of the Town Council back then that costs to maintain public gardens upkeep would need to be reviewed, with councillors told that PCC were no longer in a position to maintain floral displays across the seaside town, due to financial cutbacks.

The bottom level down of the Paragon gardens were at threat from being closed off altogether unless PCC and the Town Council could come up with a scheme that needed no maintenance, so it was agreed that a ‘colourful stone scheme’ could be introduced to replicate floral beds.

Changes to the gardens alongside Castle Beach have been called a ‘work in progress’ by the Town Council, but one nearby resident of St Julian’s Street asked the Observer: “Who is responsible for this ugliness in a conservation area?

“Have you seen the hideous shiny galvanised metal racks in the Rotary Gardens?”

Correspondence that went before members of the Town Council at their meeting this month as well as PCC’s environmental services operations manager Neil McCarthy from residents of St Mary’s Street further criticised the work, stating: “We feel that this plan leads to the uglification of Tenby”.

The correspondence states: “We are writing to say how very disappointed we are at the work being done on the gardens by Castle Beach

“The shrubs have been ripped out and are being replaced with concrete and steel structures which are apparently going to have hanging baskets of flowers.

“We understand that this work is to save money on the watering of what had been the existing garden. It seems that no account has been taken of the aesthetic degradation of the garden which, for residents and visitors, has been a popular place to sit and stroll.

“We would argue that this plan is also an environmental degradation. It will severely diminish the soil and mean that wildlife habitat is lost. Meanwhile the planned hanging baskets will still need watering,” continued the correspondents.

“Why has thought not been put into an environmental plan where coastal plants, salt-tolerant, environment-friendly and drought-resistant could be nurtured? Such planting would arguably enhance the area and lead to an environmental gain - including a reduction in water consumption.

“We feel that this plan leads to the uglification of Tenby and it seems to be of a piece with, for example, the work done on the gardens at the Paragon where plants and hedging have been replaced with a plastic membrane and stone.

“Hedging - with no maintenance cost - is currently being ripped out of the bank opposite the bus stop on Park Road - again habitat is being lost, the work has a financial cost and what are the aesthetic and environmental costs?

“Tenby already has a surfeit of begonias and petunias and other annual bedding plants in play school colours. Could you please start thinking about sustainable aesthetics and biodiversity?” they added.

Responding to the correspondence at the Town Council’s meeting, the town clerk Andrew Davies told councillors that he believed Mr McCarthy was going to write directly back to the resident.

The Mayor, Cllr Sam Skyrme-Blachall said that she had spoken to the neighbours about the work in progress and tried to explain that PCC have a plan to try and reduce costs and be more environmentally friendly .

Cllr Blackhall suggested that the Town Council write separately to the letter’s authors to say that TTC absolutely share their sentiments as to sustainable planting and that all involved are looking at a more sustainable resolution for maintenance of the town’s green spaces.

“Concerning the Rotary Gardens, there was no value in the soil that was removed and this change of direction to a more sustainable approach will mean that PCC will not be pumping 120 gallons of water a day onto just this one garden,” remarked Cllr Blackhall.

“It is a work in progress and eventually it will look lovely,” he added.

The town clerk added that PCC were also looking at planting daffodils in the beds to reduce the ‘off season’ impact of the basket rails.