A ‘misunderstanding’ between the Borough Council and a firm of its contractors led to the attractive flowerbeds on the castle lawn being dug up by mistake.
The error led to a petition that attracted signatures from more than 1,100 residents who demanded that the flowerbeds be reinstated.
Within hours of the striking Cannon Lawn displays being dug up and replaced with plain turf last Thursday, hundreds took to social media to vent their frustration at what was described as removing the ‘crown jewels’ of the town.
Dozens of comments were left on the petition, from wedding couples saying how the flowers were part of their special day photographs, through to a call for ‘selfie’ photographs of residents looking saddened by the flowers’ demise.
Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council has now confirmed that the axing of the display at the height of its summer bloom was a misunderstanding with the company it had employed.
The replacement of the beds had been carried out by the West Malling-based firm Landscape Services – whose logo includes the banner ‘Your Environment Matters’.
Resident Mark Hood, who started the petition, said he was left baffled by the situation.
He said: “Everyone was totally shocked by this when we saw they were taking away the flowers within the castle grounds.
“The Cannon Lawn display is almost like a sacred space. People love it and they’re like our crown jewels.”
Among the first to sign the change.org petition against the flowers’ removal was resident Sara Scannell. She said: “Civic pride is important to residents and visitors alike. It keeps vandalism and graffiti down and encourages visitors who spend money in the town.”
In response, Nicolas Heslop, Leader of Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, explained there had been an error, which would be put right as a priority.
He said: “Last year, flowerbeds were removed from the Bailey Lawn at Tonbridge Castle to allow larger scale events to take place within the Castle grounds.
“Unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding regarding the implementation of some further planned alterations, which led to the recent removal of the flower beds on the Cannon Lawn.
“I am pleased to say the Cannon Lawn flower beds will be reinstated and I apologise for any confusion caused.”