Petition launched over park’s perilous pergolas

Volunteers raised their concerns over three years ago but council has yet to take action, reports James Cracknell

Volunteers from the Friends of Bury Lodge Gardens beside one of the four fenced-off pergolas that have become a health and safety hazard
Volunteers from the Friends of Bury Lodge Gardens beside one of the four fenced-off pergolas that have become a health and safety hazard

Volunteers who help look after an award-winning Enfield park have started a petition calling on the council to fix four pergolas fenced off for health and safety reasons.

The Friends of Bury Lodge Gardens group first raised concerns over the condition of the pergolas – usually among the most attractive features of the park – at least three years ago. But the council’s failure to repair them properly led to their deterioration and, in October, a timber breaking and falling during bad weather.

Broken paving stones also creating dangerous trip hazards and fears over the conditions of the timbers across the other pergolas eventually led to all four being fenced off, but Enfield Council has not yet set out a timeline for when they will be fixed and made safe.

Bury Lodge Gardens in Bush Hill Park was designed and laid out in the 1930s on the site of the former Bury Lodge mansion house. The four pergolas are surrounded by 33 rose beds and are centred around a popular lily pond – but their closure now makes it difficult for visitors to access the pond because there are no other footpaths leading to it.

Lynda Cole, secretary of the friends group, told the Dispatch: “The children usually love to come down here to the pond but now [because] it is fenced off they are climbing down the rock wall – they [the council] have created another hazard.

“It was three or four years ago that we first reported there were loose paving slabs and the timbers were bowing. They did a temporary repair but when we came back from lockdown last year we found one slab was loose again.

“After three months of reporting it they put a fence up, and they fenced the pergola opposite as well. Now the weeds are growing through it and we haven’t made any progress. A month ago we had a day of heavy rain and the park keeper found one of the timbers had fallen, so they decided to fence them [the remaining two pergolas] both off.

“If they had fixed the timbers when we reported it, it would have been a simple repair.”

Bury Lodge Gardens is regarded as one of the most attractive parks in Enfield and is a frequent winner of London in Bloom awards in the ‘small park’ and ‘walled garden’ categories.

Bush Hill Park councillor James Hockney has been trying to persuade the council to take action for several weeks. The Conservative said: “Enfield Council has utterly failed the park and community by not repairing the pergolas. This is despite the friends group, community and myself pressing them for some time.

“It was a sad sight to see two pergolas shut for the last year but, with all four pergolas being shut, preventing pavement access to the pond is unacceptable.

“The friends group do an amazing job; providing a significant amount of volunteer hours – which frees up council resource. For the friends to have to campaign to get Enfield Council to do its job is not right.”

To sign the Bury Lodge Gardens petition to the council:

Update 18/11

A council spokesperson said: “The council is now in a position where we can start this work imminently and we expect the repairs to be progressed over the next few months.”