Flowers cut from Peterborough parks to save £50,000 in council budget squeeze

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Campaigners have warned a city risks becoming "colourless" and "unattractive" after a decision to stop planting spring and summer bedding plants to save money.

Peterborough City Council needs to close a £27 million gap in its budget.

The city's Civic Society has slammed the decision, saying it understood the need to save money, but claimed it could have organised other people to plant and maintain the flower beds if it had known earlier.

The council said there would still be spring and summer flowering bulbs and grass-cutting would continue.

David Turnock, chairman of Peterborough Civic Society, said: "It's all a matter about civic pride. People like to see nice things around the city centre, the city centre is what drives any place.

"If it's going to be colourless, it's not going to be attractive any more. Having some flowers just makes everyone feel good."

Peterborough City Council has stopped planting flowing bedding plants to save money Credit: ITV News Anglia

Peterborough Council has been struggling with its finances and was warned by the government in November 2021 to sort out its budget.

In February last year, a government bail-out was offered to Peterborough. The then-Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick said it was among a few councils that were "unable to balance their budgets" and are facing serious financial difficulties.

Peterborough City councillor Nigel Simons is the cabinet member for the environment. He said: "As part of this year's budget setting process we had to look forensically at every area the council spends money to close a £27m gap in our budget.

"This included making savings which we wish we did not have to but were necessary to ensure we can still meet our statutory responsibilities, such as providing for the elderly and vulnerable adults and supporting children in care and families in crisis.

"The reduction identified in the contract means we are stopping our planting of spring and summer bedding plants in various areas in the city thus saving £50,000 per annum."

Not planting spring and summer flowers will save Peterborough City Council £50,000 Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Civic Society is worried the lack of flower power will have a big impact on Peterborough and could possible have an impact of the mental health of people who live there.

Mr Turnock added: "Flowers sound superficial but having nice flowers and planing around the city really makes it attractive.

"There's all sorts of organisations who I'm sure would take this on. I personally maintain some of the grounds around a church in the centre of Peterborough, and I'd be happy to maintain some of the flowerbeds myself."

The council said there would still be spring and summer flowering bulbs across the city and grass and vegetation cutting would continue as normal.

Mr Simons added: "We have also been working with the Friends groups of both Itter and Central parks to look at how we can provide planting whil still making the savings that we need to.

"At Itter park the Friends have planted up some shrubs in two of the old beds, whil at Central the Friends group have replenished some failing roses and replaced some old shrub planting with new."