Letter: Garden for Diana

Sir: If the principle of a garden to commemorate Diana, Princess of Wales, at Kensington Palace is agreed upon (report, 30 December), we should all be spared a design that emerges from behind closed doors, and not least because of the hype that would accompany its public "launch". Instead, unless the family specifically do not want this to be the case, a popular design should be allowed to evolve through the slower process of a relaxed and open ideas competition.

There can still be a role for those working behind the scenes. They and their experts can help set the competition parameters, they can help assess the entries and they can contribute to the garden's detailed design development, and finally they can take responsibility for the design's implementation and maintenance.

Inconvenient and awkward competitions may sometimes be but, in the absence of a clear and acceptable alternative proposal, for example to restore the original, perhaps dull, William and Mary box garden, selecting and developing a design in open competition will inject new and popular life into our valuable tradition of garden and landscape design.

Such an open process need not lead to a design of lesser quality simply by virtue of being popular, and would create a positive outlet for the creative expression of the feelings of many.

JOHN SOMERVILLE-LARGE

London W1

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