Trust Defends Chiswick House Grounds Closure

Decision taken due to public safety risk caused by icy conditions

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Chiswick House Trust

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Chiswick House and Gardens Trust defended the decision to temporarily close the Gardens on Sunday 19th December due to what they believed were risks to public safety caused by the icy weather conditions

Trust Director Sarah Finch-Crisp told "Closing the gardens is a very rare occurrence. We are sorry that some of our regular visitors were temporarily unable to enjoy the gardens as usual on Sunday morning but the closure was essential to give us much needed time to make the park safer for everyone."

The closure of the grounds between 7.00am and 2.00pm prompted an angry response from those who hoped to visit the grounds when they were carpeted by snow.

However, the Trust defended the decision after a number of incidents over the weekend involving members of the public including a 75 year old man who fell through the ice on the lake whilst attempting to rescue his dog. This particular incident put other members of the public and staff at risk who came to his and others assistance and the emergency services struggled to attend due to the pressure of calls.

A further three dogs fell through the ice on the lake and one almost drowned but was saved by the Warden on duty.

With emergency services extremely busy and risk of further incidents occurring, the Trust decided not to open the park on Sunday morning to "allow time to make it safer". They added that some visitors would not be familiar with the grounds and might have experienced increased difficulty as snow had covered safety notices.

A group of volunteers were called into action on Sunday morning at 7am and erected a high visibility barrier around the lake as well as gritting icy slopes on some paths and bridges.

The park was reopened at 2.00pm in time for people to enjoy the snow in the afternoon.

December 21, 2010