Goodbye Gazebo? Have Your Say

Meades Water Gardens Gazebo

The Meades Water Gardens Gazebo in its current state

The river conservation partnership Impress the Chess is rightly proud of its achievements in regenerating Meades Water Gardens, the public gardens off Red Lion Street. The project involved reinstating a natural chalk stream, upgrading the footpaths and improving light levels through tree surgery. This work was completed in 2007-08 and since that time the project has won regional and national awards for its contribution to the natural environment and for the benefits it has brought to residents.

It’s tempting to think that once the diggers have gone and the wildlife has started to recolonise the site that the work is done, but activity has been on-going ever since including the installation of a new seat and footbridge improvements. But there is one building in the Gardens that sticks out like a sore thumb and we would like your views on what to do with it. The brick structure, known as the Gazebo, was originally a summerhouse located in a garden on the site of what is now St. Mary’s Way. The late Dr Baines, a former Mayor of Chesham, personally paid for the structure to be relocated to the gardens in 1989 to commemorate the Chesham of previous centuries.

Unfortunately, as the Water Gardens became overgrown and unwelcoming during the 1990s, the Gazebo was extensively vandalised and ultimately burnt out. Since that time it has remained in the Gardens, boarded-up and prone to graffiti. Impress the Chess would like to change this and have been considering options for the Gazebo’s future. Below, we propose a number of options and their estimated costs:

1. Demolish the Gazebo (£1,200)
2. Rebuild the Gazebo in Red Lion St where it will be more visible and so less prone to vandalism (between £3,300 and £4,600)
3. Brick up the windows and door and move the inside plaque to the outside of the Gazebo to provide historical context (estimated between £300 to £500)
4. Put grilles on the window and door (£1,650) and refurbish the burnt out interior (possibly £1000). This will have on-going costs of regular litter removal from the Gazebo.
5. Offer the Gazebo to the Chiltern Open Air Museum

Please let us know what you think, by phone to 01494 58378, by email to or to Kathryn Graves, Chesham Town Hall, Chesham, HP5 1DS. We would like to know the following:

1. Do you visit Meades Water Gardens?
2. Do you think something should be done to the Gazebo?
3. If so, what is your preferred option out of the five listed above?
4. Do you have another suggestion for improving the Gazebo?

We would be grateful for your thoughts by 20th December 2010.

Published: 21 September 2010