Anger over poor state of Shaw ‘memorial garden’

A SHAW woman has hit out at the state of what she believes is a poppy garden in the town – which now looks like an overgrown patch of waste land.

Cynthia Blythe describes the condition of the site of Shaw’s old swimming baths as ‘unloved’ and believes something needs to be done.

What is thought to have been set up as a memorial garden is now full of ‘daisy type flowers and buttercups’, with Cynthia saying the poppies left remaining are ‘on the outside, struggling for life’.

She has outlined her concerns to Shaw and Crompton Parish Council, only to be told they believe it is in the domain of Oldham Borough Council.

Whoever is responsible, she just hopes someone takes charge of what is becoming a blot on the Shaw landscape.

Cynthia, of Clough Road, said: “If it is a poppy garden or a memorial garden, it’s not being looked after.

“Nowadays, there are just a lot of big daisy type flowers and buttercups. There are a few dead, brown poppy stalks and about three on the outside struggling for life.

“It was set up after the pool was demolished and the site left for quite some time. When it was first done, it was full of poppies, then a year later there were a few less, then a few less again.

“It’s sad to see how it looks now, even though some of the flowers in there have blossomed – they’re not poppies.”

Shaw’s old baths, which were built in 1899, were demolished in 2016 and Cynthia was delighted to see the poppy garden bloom in its place.

However, its upkeep – or rather the lack of it – has left her disheartened.

She added: “I’d like Oldham Council to take control of it, which was my understanding anyway.

“Weirdly, they work on the area of land on the other side of the road, just a few yards away but this appears to have been left.

“It seemed like the original intention was to have a poppy garden to remember those who gave their lives in battle, with the poppy being the flower of remembrance.

“Even if it is not their responsibility, someone can be given the training to maintain it. The poppy is a wild flower and wild flowers need tending to differently.

“When I raised it at the parish council, someone else said, ‘Oh yes, I’ve just been past there and it doesn’t look good. It’s looking neglected.’

“For me, if it’s a memorial what are they going to do come Remembrance Sunday?

“We’re all there at the cenotaph in the town centre and there are bands and parades but this little garden appears to be completely ignored.”

Cynthia understands that Shaw and Crompton Parish Council was going to find out off Oldham Council if the area is indeed their responsibility.

And she believes whoever is in charge can spruce it up.

She said: “Someone just needs to look after it. It might only take two or three goes a year but it just appears to have been left.”

An Oldham Council spokesperson said: “There are no current definite proposals for the former baths site in Shaw and there are unlikely to be any until the CCG led feasability study regarding a potential new health centre has been concluded.”

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