09:00AM, Friday 22 January 2016
Windsor’s Alexandra Gardens has been described as looking like a 'ploughed field' in the wake of this year’s Christmas ice rink.
Windsor on Ice was based in a section of the park in Riverway from November 28 to January 3.
It is up to the company to pay to reinstate the gardens, which are owned by the Royal Borough, to their former glory.
But following the departure of the festive ice rink and Christmas fair, residents have criticised the state the gardens have been left in.
Windsor on Ice uses the area around the new bandstand but the previously green lawns have been left muddy and are closed off to the public until they are returfed.
Denis Smith, 68, of Albert Street, told the Express: “This is supposed to be an open space to be enjoyed by the public, according to plaques on the entrance, going back more than 100 years.
“Now in mid-January it looks like a ploughed field, with no public access again until maybe Easter, if we are lucky.”
It was the sixth year the ice rink was based at the Alexander Gardens, but planning permission has to be granted each year.
In July, the planning application for the ice rink and associated funfair rides was met with a frosty response.
Residents branded the rides ‘inappropriate’ for the gardens, which are overlooked by Windsor Castle.
The application was originally for three years but the Windsor Urban Development Panel granted it for 2015 only.
At the time, town manager Paul Roach said he had received complaints about it, but added the council is fortunate to have the Windsor on Ice event without having to subsidise the cost itself.
Clare Johnson, operations manager at Windsor on Ice, said the company aims to restore the gardens as quickly as possible after the event.
She said this year’s ‘particularly muddy’ ground is a result of recent heavy rain and the winter’s mild weather, adding that starting work now when the ground is often frozen could do further damage.
“Living in Windsor all my life, I have enjoyed Alexandra Gardens for many years with my family,” she said.
“Now having a 13-year-old daughter we spend a lot of time in the gardens with friends and family so I am very keen to bring the gardens back to its former glory as quick as we possibly can.”
Windsor on Ice, which pays the Royal Borough to returf the surface, has been told by the council that subject to weather, work to restore damaged area is due to start on Monday.
An independent report into a Conservative councillor has found a breach of the Royal Borough’s code of conduct in a document seen by the Advertiser.