300 residents could be left without gardens after famous square is sold off to mystery buyer

By Jacob Phillips, local democracy reporter

One of Westminster’s most precious gardens has been sold off to a mystery buyer – leaving locals in doubt about its future.

Prince’s Square Gardens has been sold for the first time since it was built 165 years ago.

The price tag of the gardens is not known but the garden’s previous owners were asking for over £5 million for the asset.

The garden was previously used by over 300 Westminster residents.

Residents next to Prince’s Square Gardens pay £400 a year to use the privately owned one-acre garden on top of a £300 joining fee.

But now that the garden has been bought by a mystery buyer it is unknown whether residents will be able to use it again.

The one-acre garden is dog-friendly and has a manicured lawn, a perimeter of mature trees, and a butterfly area.

Campaigners threatened a court challenge over the sale. But the garden was sold off before it could be protected by Westminster City Council.

The council granted the garden as an asset of community value (ACV) on August 13 meaning residents would have the opportunity to raise funds to buy the garden so the space could continue to be used.

But the space was sold off to a newly created property company on July 15 before it could be safeguarded.

The council is now investigating the sale of the outdoor space.

Bayswater councillor Maggie Carman said: “If the Conservative council hadn’t been wasting its time and money on the £6 million Marble Arch Mound they could have taken action in time to protect this much loved green space in the heart of Bayswater and ensure residents are able to use it in future.”

A Westminster City Council spokesperson said: “We understand how much this park means to local people and have supported the Friends of Prince’s Square Gardens with their application.

“We granted the gardens asset of community value status ensuring this took place within the eight-week statutory deadline.

“The council was only recently notified of changes that were placed on the land registry and will investigate. We are keen to ensure our much-loved green spaces are protected.”

Pictured: Councillor Maggie Carman has been campaigning to protect Prince’s Square Gardens

 


 

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