Residents’ fury at £750 fee to access posh London garden that was once free

Residents are outraged after being told they must pay £750 to access a garden outside their homes, which they could previously use for free.

People living at Craven Hill Gardens, in Bayswater, claim they are being exploited by the annual fee.

Claire Mandel, 69, said she was given free access to the space when she moved in during 2019 and used it every day.

But a few months later she was locked out of the garden and told she would need to pay £750 a year to use it.

She said: “It’s absolutely outrageous. It’s unaffordable, it’s extortion.”

READ MORE: The posh Bayswater townhouses that look completely normal but actually hide a bizarre London Underground secret

Claire, who has arthritis, said although there are public parks nearby like Hyde Park but her condition means she cannot always walk very far to enjoy the outdoors.

She said the garden was a huge selling point for the property and she can no longer use it because the fee is too high.

She added: “It’s all very strange. I used it every day and it was wonderful.

“Then one day I went to use it and someone had changed the locks and I was told I would need to pay £750-a-year from now on.”

Wendy Carling, 54, who has lived on the street since 1991, said it is unbelievable that some 300 local residents cannot use the garden unless they pay to.

Locals have been locked out of the private gardens unless they cough up £750-a-year

Garden Bayswater Westminster housing

Residents say the garden should be free for all to use

She said: “These gardens were built hundreds of years ago for the sole purpose of being used by residents.

“It just simply defies belief. It doesn’t make sense that they want to charge us such a high fee to access a place we should be able to use freely.

“I wonder how they would feel if we did it to them, it’s inhumane.

“I’ve not seen a single person in there since they introduced the fees.”

Claire said she was particularly devastated when she could not use the garden during lockdown.

She added: “It’s on our doorstep and it’s a lovely, peaceful environment.

“When you live in a small, 37 square-metre flat it’s a lifesaver to have something like that.

“It’s a wonderful asset to our neighbourhood and was a huge part of my lifestyle.

“We are not going to give up, we will keep fighting this.”

The garden is run by luxury property manager Bruton of Sloane Street, who introduced the new charges in 2019, claiming the money is needed for maintenance.

0 GettyImages 1318321182

At MyLondon, we want to make sure you get the latest and greatest from across the capital.

And one way you can do that is by getting the best news, reviews and features from wherever you are straight to your inbox with our free email newsletters.

We have seven newsletters you can currently sign up for – including a different one for each part of London, as well as an EastEnders one for all the gossip from Albert Square, and a London Underground one to keep you up to date on the latest transport news.

The local newsletters go out twice a day and send the latest stories straight to your inbox.

From community stories and news covering every borough of London to celebrity and lifestyle stories, we’ll make sure you get the very best every day.

To sign up to any of our newsletters, simply follow this link and select the newsletter that’s right for you.

And to really customise your news experience on the go, you can download our top-rated free apps for iPhone and Android. Find out more here.

Bruton director Andrew Kafkaris, said: “Craven Hill Gardens is managed on a not-for-profit basis, with the access fee requested covering the cost of an individual for maintenance, as well as gardening, tending to large trees and a pond.

“This fee has been reduced by 33 per cent compared to the fee last year.

“Square residents who would like to access the gardens in support of the not-for-profit model are welcome.”

Craven Hill Gardens was once home to one of London’s poshest hotels – the Hempel Hotel, with celebrity guests including Michael Jackson and the Beckhams.

Opened in 1997 by 60s actress-turned hotelier Anouska Hempel, the hotel closed in 2013 and the main building was bought for a reported £33 million.

Read More
Read More

Recommended For You