SUNTRAP GARDEN - SAVE OUR SUNTRAP
SUNSET FOR SUNTRAP
The sun has set on our hard fought battle to retain Suntrap as a public resource under the management of Friends of Suntrap. The properties which comprise Suntrap were sold by Oatridge College and the National Trust for Scotland in the autumn of last year, 2012. At our EGM on 6 September 2012, we still had hopes that we might be able to negotiate with the new owners to pursue our plans to offer therapeutic gardening on the premises in a partnership agreement and, to that end, we were considering forming a company, called Friends of Suntrap.
We were not helped by the NTS in our attempts to establish contact with the new owners though, with the aid of others, we did manage an exchange of telephone calls in December 2012 and a meeting at Suntrap at the end of February. Hence there has been a delay in issuing communication to members as we had no definite information to give.
While our exchanges with the new owners have been very amicable and they have been anxious to consult us about our items of property which remained at Suntrap, it has become clear that we must abandon our plans for the future. Work has already commenced on reshaping and repairing Suntrap House, the former gardener’s house, where the new owners intend to stay while Millbuies is restored and rendered a domestic property with modern comforts. The owners are sympathetic to the heritage of the Listed building and have had their plans approved at local government level. Their intention is to offer Suntrap House for rent when they move to Millbuies. They have been told that the work on the site is likely to take 3 years. Since workmen will be constantly in evidence, Suntrap is not a suitable location for therapeutic work and, understandably, the owners want to exclude the public for the foreseeable future.
There is still a glow of hope for those of us who have come to love Suntrap and appreciate its many qualities. The new owners realised the integral nature of the properties and wanted to maintain Suntrap as a whole entity and protect it from developers by keeping the 2 houses in one private property as Boyd Anderson had planned. They also give the impression that they have fallen in love with Suntrap. They want to keep the garden in its present form and are interested in the planting, etc though they have had to accept the enormity of the task of maintaining a garden of that size and complexity. They have met John Smith and one of his classes and are not unsympathetic to the nature of therapeutic gardening. In the future, it may be possible for John to pursue some more projects in the Garden.
There is another glow, the sun kissed warmth of Suntrap which remains to us and to me in particular and that has come from the unfailing support and comradeship of my colleagues on the Committee; and the help of the volunteers; those outside our immediate organisation such as the politicians and members of the press; and you, the members who have given your moral and practical aid to the campaign during the last two and a half years. Thank you. We may not have attained what we hoped but the memories are sustaining. Suntrap will continue under the protection of new carers. The Garden is not lost!
Former Chair of Save Our Suntrap and Secretary of Friends of Suntrap
(c) 2013 Suntrap Garden. All rights reserved. Digital Engine