INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Evening Star JUNE 17, 2003 - by Staff Writers
MUSIC STAR HITS BACK AT SUFFOLK COUNCIL
Rock legend Brian Eno has told of his disappointment that a secret garden he bought for the people of his hometown has seen him accused of selfishness and miserliness.
Mr Eno, a world-famous producer and co-founder of the rock band Roxy Music, wanted to safeguard the wooded oasis in Woodbridge from housing development.
But the land has often been used as a dumping ground in recent years and Woodbridge Town Council decided last week they could not afford to clean it. Councillors had earlier offered to clear the site but as Mr Eno, 55, had given his go-ahead too late, they could not include it in their maintenance programme.
The musician had offered the site to the council in February for a community use but was told to write again in six months as elections were looming.
In the meantime, councillors said they could not take financial responsibility for clearing the site, with one saying Mr Eno probably has more finances available to do so.
But Mr Eno says he had spent thousands of pounds on the upkeep of the garden and only wanted to provide space for children to play.
I have to say that I am extremely disappointed that, having intended to make a gesture of generosity towards the town in which I grew up, I now stand accused of selfishness and miserliness, he said.
Mr Eno said he bought the land off Castle Street, known as The Pit, in 1985 for £15,000.
It was a place that meant a lot to me, the site of my father's infant school and a place I'd loved as a child.
I bought it to protect it, to stop it being filled with houses like every other similar site in Woodbridge, and to keep it available for other generations of children.
Since I no longer live in Woodbridge and am not in a position to keep an eye on the land, I thought it would be a welcome gesture to offer the land to the council to use for the benefit of the community, he said.
When I suggested this, they offered to clear the land. I did not ask them to do so.
Mr Eno said the rubbish dumped on his land had come either from adjacent houses or brought in by children to build dens with.
Woodbridge Town Council said it was still waiting to hear from Mr Eno about whether he wanted it to take over management of the overgrown sand quarry.