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Wednesday, May 27, 1998 Published at 00:38 GMT 01:38 UK


UK

Call for Diana garden to be scrapped

Last year mourners flocked to Kensington Palace

Hundreds of angry London residents have called on plans for a Diana, Princess of Wales memorial garden to be scrapped.


Residents at the meeting explain why they do not want the memorial garden
More than 250 residents gathered at a special public meeting held at Kensington Town Hall to oppose plans by the late princess's memorial fund for a 16-acre garden in the grounds of her former home of Kensington Palace.

Many fear it would draw hoards of tourists, increase traffic and push up pollution around the palace and neighbouring Kensington Gardens.


[ image: Alan Clark urged a more neutral stance]
Alan Clark urged a more neutral stance
It was the first chance they have had to comment on the controversial plans and many expressed strong opinions.

The art critic Brian Sewell, who lives in the borough, said: "The garden will be tacky, and nobody who lives in the area will like it. It will be simply a focus for silly tourists."

Although proposals for the garden are still at an early stage, estimates are that it would attract five million visitors a year.

Last summer, thousands of mourners swamped the grounds outside Kensington Palace to lay flowers in tribute to Diana.

But voices of dissent at the meeting were tempered by the Kensington and Chelsea MP Alan Clark.


[ image: Art critic Brian Sewell:
Art critic Brian Sewell: "It will be simply a focus for silly tourists."
Mr Clark urged residents to adopt a more neutral stance, which would give them a greater say over the final memorial.

"The people will come here and they will come here whether there is a memorial or not," he said. "I think it is very unlikely that there won't be any memorial to Diana in the borough.

"Total resistance is less likely to succeed than a campaign of attrition over a long period of time."

But he did complain that residents had been starved of information about the "design and impact" of the garden.

Speaking after the meeting, one resident said: "I think it's a terrible idea. Anybody who went through last September doesn't want another single tourist in Kensington Gardens ever again."



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05 May 98 | Europe
'Feminine' memorial to Diana

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