Updated on Tuesday, October 16: Destruction of garden furniture in an arson attack on Selby Meadows, New Town, has been deplored by town councillors.
Chairman of the town council’s environment and leisure committee, Cllr Jeremy Beesley, highlighted the attack at a meeting of councillors last night (October 15).
He referred to a similar attack at the Millennium Green at Ridgewood.
Town mayor, Cllr Spike Mayhew, said it was such a shame after last weekend’s Poppy event which was “absolutely brilliant”.
Cllr Beesley said he had seen comments on social media asking why the perpetrators had done it. He believed those responsible didn’t know why.
From our original story on Monday, October 15: Vandals set fire to garden furniture at Selby Meadow community garden in New Town, Uckfield, yesterday afternoon.
It was only thanks to neighbours, who smelt the blaze, that more damage wasn’t caused.
But the people who put so much effort into looking after the garden are demoralised and wondering how they can protect it in the future.
This is the second time the garden has been attacked in a year. Back in August new legs had to be fitted to a wooden horse, a notice box was left without a lid to keep the rain out and things were “thrown around and spoilt”.
And in 2016 fire destroyed a children’s play house in the meadow – though police believed that was accidentaly set alight, probably by a cigarette.
Last week everybody was riding on a high after a successful open day when there was an exhibition of World War 1 memorabilia and more than 1,000 hand-knitted and crocheted poppies adorned displays.
Funds were raised for the Royal British Legion and for the upkeep of the meadow.
Yesterday one of the organisers Velda Reed published pictures on Facebook showing the fire damage. She said: “Look what the horrible people have done to Selby Meadow this afternoon. Thank you to Sharon and Brian who were quick to stop the blaze. What is going on?”
Velda added in comments on her post that she couldn’t bring her heart high enough to dispose of what was left of recently donated table and chairs. “Perhaps we should leave it for a couple of days to let others see what has happened.”
Resident Ben Cox said he would do his best to help sort out the mess, get to work on replacing and moving forwards.
He said: “A few fools can’t and won’t stop the lovely people of New Town having nice things.”
He told Velda: “Keep your head up Hun, as you are an inspiration to the community and this is only a silly thing that won’t define the amazing work over this year.”
Uckfield Mayor Cllr Spike Mayhew said: “Oh my God what is wrong with these people, all the hard work that goes into making a nice family-friendly place spoilt by thoughtless thugs. If there is anything I can do to help, please contact me Velda.”
There were many other offers of help with people expressing sadness and outrage about the vandalism.
Sharon Firth said: “It just shows we all, as neighbours, need to be vigilant. Lucky we spotted it early, could have been much worse. This is a treasured plot of land that could quite easily be housing.”
Selby Meadow was opened as a community space in 2011 after being saved from development by neighbours and turned into a peaceful haven for themselves, wildlife and the wider community.
Read more about Selby Meadow here: Touch of magic in Selby Meadow, Uckfield