St Giles-in-the-Fields churchyard is being renovated. During these works the construction engineer was concerned that the dividing boundary wall, between the garden and the churchyard, was unsafe and this has now been demolished.
The wall will be replaced with one of similar height in block or brick but as the design must be passed by Camden's planning department before the new wall can be constructed, it may take a couple of months before it is rebuilt.
The engineer has informed us that some of the trees in the garden may be undermining the wall causing damage and as part of the works a number of trees will be removed. These are; 1 horse-chestnut, 1 field maple, 1 myroloban and 1 sycamore.
We have also had to relocate our compost and leaf bins, and our log-piles to make way for the foundations to be dug, and to remove all the plants from the length of the wall. A huge amount of soil will be removed as part of the works and we are unsure at this time how much will be returned to the garden.
We are waiting to hear on progress with the planning application and when these works will be completed.
After 7 years of negotiations the charity was offered heads of terms for a new 20year lease for the garden in November 2013 and this was passed to our solicitors for processing. We had believed the lease would be granted on a simple 'peppercorn' rent basis after the extended negotiations, so we were surprised when the final draft included 'service charge' clause. Our solicitor requested a figure be given for the service charge amount, and for this to be shown in the lease. We were advised us it would be foolish to sign an agreement with no idea of how much the council could charge for services; unlocking the gates and removing rubbish. We still, over 4 months later, are waiting for a response from council officers to this simple query and seem no closer to receiving a new lease.
We are unable to move the building project ahead without a new lease in place and are very concerned that the hard work of trustees and supporters in raising the funds for the building project may be wasted if the delays continue, as funding for the project may be withdrawn and construction costs continue to rise.
If you would like to express your frustration with the ongoing delays regarding the new lease you can contact Camden's Chief lettings officer, Christine Dove directly via email:
The garden's frogs took advantage of the early warm weather to spawn in the wildlife pond. We had been worried that frog numbers were down but were relieved to see so many busy spawning - we counted over 40.