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Cuts mean that Southsea flower beds could be bare all winter

LOOKING GOOD Flowers ON Southsea Common near Clarence Pier. Picture: Paul Jacobs (111393-6)

LOOKING GOOD Flowers ON Southsea Common near Clarence Pier. Picture: Paul Jacobs (111393-6)

 

SOUTHSEA’S flowerbeds could be left bare all winter by the city council as it looks to save more money.

The local authority doesn’t want to pay to put winter bedding plants across the seafront any more – a move which will help it claw back £14,500 a year.

One of the areas affected is The Dell, a patch of grass usually brimming with colour and life off South Parade.

By not doing anything there, £6,000 a year will be generated.

It will be left bare unless sponsorship can be secured, and interested parties are being urged to come forward.

The decision was made at February’s budget meeting and it went through without challenge at the latest one held last month.

It comes after the council revealed it is considering removing concrete planters in Palmerston Road, which it spent £26,000 installing just 18 months ago, because they’re being abused.

Councillor Luke Stubbs, who represents the Eastney and Craneswater ward, said the move was disappointing.

‘One of the things Portsmouth has done well is its floral displays. It’s a shame to lose the winter bedding plants, especially when you think £26,000 has been wasted on concrete planters.

‘It shows the money is there and it’s a false economy to take the plants away.’

One resident said: ‘The gardens are bare now after the removal of the summer geraniums. Weeds are growing already, which are an eyesore.

‘Both residents and visitors get an enormous amount of pleasure from the lovely floral displays and many visitors take photographs.’

As previously reported, the council plans to save £30m in the next three years because government funding is being cut.

A council spokesman said: ‘Like all local authorities, we are facing very significant financial challenges as a direct result of reductions in its grant from central government.

‘In the February 2013 budget it was decided to stop planting winter bedding plants in seafront flower beds where sponsorship cannot be secured. The council is working to find companies willing to sponsor the flower beds and cover the cost of winter planting. It is still planned to plant the seafront flower beds ahead of the summer as usual.’

Anyone interested in providing sponsorship should call (023) 9268 8568.

 

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