In early 2006, the Crown Estates proposed to fence in Valley Gardens (next to Savill Gardens near Old Windsor) and charge an entrance fee. King George V had granted free public access to the Gardens in the 1930s. One of the reasons given for the proposal was to create a revenue stream, a desire probably not unconnected with the fact that £7 million had been spent on a new visitor centre at Savill Gardens!
An Action Group was formed to campaign to keep the gardens free from fences and fees, and this was actively supported by the Civic Society. Our Planning Group also wrote formally to object to the proposal, as it would have meant a major loss of amenity for the whole area.
Making full use of the power of the Internet, over 20,000 signatures were collected and delivered to the Queen, with the result that the Crown Estates ultimately yielded and withdrew their plan. This means that the public will continue to have free entry to the gardens that are simply wonderful in the spring. Please make a note to visit at Easter to see the daffodils and again in mid-May to see the fantastic azaleas in the Punch Bowl.