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Park’s new trees

Trees were planted in a Bognor Regis beauty spot to reflect its legacy.


Up to 32 specimens were dug in across Hotham Park in a mass planting event on Tuesday.


Some 30 people went along to the Arun District Council event. It saw species such as strawberry trees, foxglove trees and firs put into the earth to reflect the park’s pioneering last private owner, William Fletcher.


Mr Fletcher lived in what is now Hotham Park House for more than 40 years until 1941 and was a known tree enthusiast. His efforts have resulted in some of the many hundreds of trees which make the park such an attraction.


James Jones-McFarland, Arun’s parks and cemeteries manager, said: “Hotham Park is Arun’s flagship park.


“It’s very precious to us and we try and manage it like it is an arboretum rather than a park.”


The event was aimed at widening a routine tree planting to include the community, he said.


“There are a lot of people interested in planting trees at the moment. This is an opportunity to get as many of them together as possible.


“It is also a chance for us to publicise our tree planting strategy for the parks and greenspaces service of the council which we will be launching in the summer,” said Mr Jones-McFarland.


The planting had been pruned from an all-day event because of the impact of the government’s advice to tackle coronavirus and the fact areas of the park remain underwater after recent torrential rainfall.


Each tree cost between £60-150. The cost had been met by four Hotham ward town councillors putting in some of their ward allocation funding.


The Hotham Park Heritage Trust had also spent £1,000 on the trees as its members continue to wind down its activities. Arun District Council covered the rest of the cost.


Among those carrying out planting was Allen Taylor, vice-chairman of the Friends of Hotham Park. The group has taken over the heritage trust.


He said: “This is the first event we have taken part in. I am here because a lot of us think planting trees is good – and we need to get more members.”


Cllr Goodheart was also present. “This is a really good event,” he said. This is just the first step in getting a lot of community groups together and see some result of their work.


“It is also important that the trees will come under the care of professionals to ensure they properly looked after and a lot of them have a good chance of turning into mature trees.”


He hoped the enthusiastic turnout was a good sign for a Park Vision tree celebration event in the park which he was helping to plan for this October.


“There should be 30-40 community groups coming along,” he said. “There is likely to be a marquee and a lot of information about trees and a chance for the groups to get to know each other.”


This replaces the intended May event.

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