Forget Cheltenham in bloom, Cheltenham Borough Council is quietly planning to replace the colourful seasonal flowers planted in the centre of town with boring and lower maintenance ‘sustainable’ planting.
It seems poor financial management by the Council has increased the pressure to find savings. The Standard has learnt that on 10 October the Lib Dem Cabinet is expected to consider a proposal to move to a different planting strategy for our historic, vibrant and highly popular flower beds. Adopting this new planting strategy will also conveniently open the way for the Council to sell off the Arle nursery (which provides the all -important bedding plants) to a housing developer, even though there are already many thousands of new houses planned for that area (near Swindon Village). So, any decision to stop seasonal planting is likely to have far reaching implications for the town.
Members of the public made aware of this controversial idea are outraged and indignant. A petition is currently doing the rounds to force the Council to debate this issue, rather than trying to force a decision outside the full glare of public scrutiny.
Chairman of Cheltenham Conservatives, Borough and Parish Councillor Chris Nelson says, “Since the Victorian times Cheltenham has been known around the world for the quality of its flowers, winning countless awards. Tourists regularly highlight the wow factor and beauty of our public gardens and parks.” He went on to further say, “Any decision to change the way we manage our historic and beautiful gardens should be made by full Council, rather than just the Cabinet.” Chris Nelson also added, “The last survey I have seen for Cheltenham shows that visitor numbers have fallen and this decision is likely to make that situation worse. I encourage the public to fight this short sighted and penny-pinching idea and sign the public petition. At least 750 signatures are required to ensure a proper public debate.”
The deadline for the petition is 28th September.
Here is the link if you want to save our flowers: