Repairs to Worden Park Conservatory completed following vandalism

Repairs to Worden Park Conservatory completed following vandalism

REPAIRS to Worden Park Conservatory have been completed following a spate of vandalism earlier this year.

In March, five youngsters were arrested and prosecuted for the extensive damage caused – leaving dozens of windows smashed and a massive clean-up job for the council, including completely boarding up the conservatory.

Now, however, the glass house has been fully repaired and is back in use again.

A £200,000 refurbishment of the conservatory had only recently been completed in 2019, when the vandals struck on three consecutive nights in March this year. The cost of the repairs – covered by the council’s insurance – came to £11,000.

Thankfully, the presence of CCTV cameras in the park meant police were able to identify the culprits and it is hoped their presence will deter any further vandalism.

Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets at South Ribble Borough Council, said: “We are delighted to see the conservatory looking its best once again. We were incredibly disappointed and disheartened by the vandalism in March which left the place in a terrible state. We had only just finished a £200,000 project to refurbish the conservatory, so to see it vandalised so soon after was just devastating for councillors, residents and staff, but above all, the Friends of Worden Park, who had also been heavily involved – helping to replant the
refurbished conservatory. 

“I am glad that the five individuals who were arrested were successfully prosecuted and referred to Lancashire’s Youth Offending Team. I hope this is a deterrent to future vandals – because the CCTV we have in place allows individuals to be
identified and dealt with as appropriate. It is difficult to understand why anyone would want to damage Worden Park Conservatory, which the people of Leyland and South Ribble have enjoyed for so many years. It’s just mindless vandalism and it has no place in society.

“I have been pleased by the residents’ reaction to the refurbished conservatory and many of them shared our frustration in March when it was damaged. We appealed for information and they came to our aid. I want to thank them again for helping us in that matter, which is thankfully now resolved, and I would urge them to continue reporting any criminal activity to either us or the police in future.

“Let’s be happy that we can now enjoy this historic, important part of South Ribble once again.”

The conservatory has been a focal point in the formal gardens since it was first built in the 1860s when the grounds formed part of the estate of the ffarington family who were the owners of Worden Hall and the surrounding parkland up until 1950. The first photographic evidence of the conservatory’s existence came shortly afterwards in 1876.

The restoration of the conservatory can now also be viewed as part of a bigger project to refurbish Worden Hall and bring this back into community use. Planning permission is currently pending for this work and, if granted, could see builders on site by Summer 2021, with a potential opening date of Spring 2022.

The proposals – which are to be submitted to South Ribble Borough Council’s Planning Committee – request planning permission to bring Worden Central buildings back into community use and be made available as a small wedding venue.

Submitted by South Ribble Borough Council