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SOLIHULL: Garden’s grand opening postponed by Covid

SOLIHULL: Garden’s grand opening postponed by Covid

Image: LDRS

Covid restrictions mean that a grand opening of Solihull’s Armed Forces Community Garden  – expected to attract hundreds of local people – has been postponed.

The grand occasion in Hillfield Park, to be attended by military personnel, local dignitaries and residents, had previously been confirmed for Friday, July 16.

But changes to the government’s roadmap for ending lockdown, with limits on the likes of large gatherings being extended until July 19, mean that organisers have decided to delay the event.

The formal unveiling will now be rescheduled for later in the year, although the plot will still be open to the public.

Cllr Ken Hawkins, cabinet member for environment and infrastructure, said that discussions had been held between council officers and the Royal British Legion and they would not be able to hold the event they wanted to under the current rules.

“We can’t have 100s of people – and there were 100 or so invited guests alone – arrive at this time,” he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

“The people of Hillfield and Monkspath are champing at the bit and I know they will be disappointed but they will understand why it is being held off.”

Aside from the legal restrictions, which under ministers’ original timetable would have ended on June 21, he said that holding the event when cases were once again on the rise in the borough might have caused concern.

“There will be vulnerable people there, so we need to make sure they’re safe and we want to be careful.”

The garden’s creation had itself been held-up by Covid, with the main works postponed until earlier this year because of the effects of the pandemic.

A council spokesman said a new date would be confirmed as soon as possible.

“All parties are committed to rearranging the ceremony and creating a meaningful event later in the year when it is allowed.”

Words: David Irwin, Local Democracy Reporter

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