GRIEVING families have had to remove plants from a memorial garden which has been targeted by yobs.

The Flash garden in Buckley underwent a £60,000 makeover in 2008 but has since been left to go to “rack and ruin,” says Buckley councillor John Woolley.

He says families who planted flowers in memory of their loved ones have removed them so they aren’t ruined by vandals.

The site, near Buckley Bistre Church, was transformed after Flintshire Neighbourhood Watch Association (FNWA) obtained a £57,000 grant from the National Lottery’s People’s Millions fund.

The ‘Our Community, Our Backyard’ project aimed to create a children’s playground, community garden, outdoor youth shelter and a football pitch at the site.

Cllr Woolley told the Leader: “The garden was opened with quite a fanfare but since then it has been left to go to rack and ruin.

“The weeds are reaching the stage where they are almost as tall as the grass.

“Somebody has tried cutting back the bushes, but they didn’t have the greatest horticultural knowledge because they have never grown back into the same shape.

“There were a number of families at the opening who planted plants in memory of their loved ones.

“I was told by local residents that since the opening families have removed their plants because it was neglected.

“A lot of local residents are really upset by this. It’s not a place of tranquillity anymore, it’s a shambles.”

In April the Leader reported the garden had been the target of yobbish behaviour with plants and trees being pulled up.

FNWA chief executive Denise Edwards said the community-owned garden is the responsibility of members of the public and not of FNWA.

She said: “FNWA obtained a grant for the project – half of which went to Flintshire Council for the purchase of play equipment and half to Groundwork to buy plants.

“It is inappropriate and unfair to lay the blame for this on FNWA when it is a community-owned garden of which everybody has a piece.

“We did have volunteers to maintain the garden but they suffered ill health and were unable to help us anymore.

“If Cllr Woolley would like to roll his sleeves up and help out in the garden then he is more than welcome.”

FNWA is currently recruiting a volunteer to tend the garden, but Cllr Woolley says it is too little, too late.

He added: “I’m sceptical whether a single person can maintain that garden on their own.

“The amount of work to maintain a garden is quite significant, especially in the summer.

“So much money was spent but there was no legacy planning.”