Network rail makes amends to replant destroyed Shepreth memorial garden – but on a different plot of land

Shepreth county councillor Susan van de Ven and Councillor Philippa Hart from South Cambs District C

Shepreth county councillor Susan van de Ven and Councillor Philippa Hart from South Cambs District Council in the destroyed memorial garden - Credit: Archant

It was a goodwill gesture intended to make amends.

When a Network Rail contractor destroyed a memorial poppy garden at Shepreth railway station in August, the company promised to plant one in its place.

Now, nine months later, work has started to replant the garden – yet villagers were left confused when they discovered it was being planted in a different plot of land.

Shepreth county councillor Susan van de Ven said: “I’m delighted to know that Network Rail has been working to restore the poppy garden at Shepreth station, though slightly disoriented as the work has been taking place on a different piece of land.

“It explains why we thought nothing was being done.”


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The replanting work is set to cost at least a few thousand pounds.

A spokeswoman for Network Rail told the Crow in February: “Last year we apologised for the damage to the flower garden and offered our sincere apologies to the volunteers.

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“We know how important this garden is to the local community and we are sorry that it was damaged.

“At that time, we said we would pay for replacement planting.

“The work to replant the garden will be carried out by Network Rail staff and then the garden will be handed to the volunteers.”

Despite the location error, councillor van De Ven appreciates the positive intentions of the remedial work.

She said: “Hopefully we can turn this turn of events to advantage by doubling the size of the original garden.

“It will take some time as the original plot still needs to recover from last year’s herbiciding, but I’m sure we will get there in the end.”

The memorial poppy garden was first planted by Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group volunteers to mark the anniversary of the First World War.

Mistaking the wild flowers and poppies for weeds, a contractor for the rail company destroyed the memorial by spraying it with herbicides.

A Network Rail spokeswoman said the planting has been done in a different location because it has less cables.

She added: “We will also be replanting the original plot later this year as well.”

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