Fenland Council does partial U-turn to add a bit of extra colour ahead of Prince Charles's Wisbech visit
PUBLISHED: 11:53 20 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:29 20 November 2018
The visit by Prince Charles to Wisbech has prompted a partial U-turn by Fenland District Council who will now provide winter bedding plants outside of St Peter's church.
The council has been under fire for its decision to halt its winter bedding plants programme to save council taxpayers up to £9,000 a year.
The decision was criticised by organisers of Wisbech in Bloom but now with the royal visit just days away the council will add some colour to the church gardens of St Peter’s.
Defending its overall decision, a council spokesman said: “An exception to this has been the planting of one bed at St Peter’s Church gardens with a remaining surplus of plants ready to welcome The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall on November 27.”
The spokesman said: “Fenland District Council has recently reviewed its bedding programme and decided not to plant winter bedding this year.
“Last year many of the bedding plants died due to the freezing temperatures, wasting money and time by having to remove dead plants before the beds could be replanted in the spring.”
The council says that by not planting winter bedding this year it will save in excess of £3,000.
But the spokesman said the council will save “just over £9,000 every year going forward by not having to spend money re-preparing beds after the summer and buying winter bedding plants.
“The council appreciates that this decision may cause some disappointment but given the time of year and the early nights, the impact is expected to be limited.”
On Monday the town council decided to double to £5,000 grant funding that it provides annually to the Wisbech in Bloom team.
A town council spokesman said: “The primary reason for this decision is to provide funding so that the team is able, in future years, to meet the cost of the winter planting of areas of the town which had been undertaken, until this year, by Fenland District Council.
“The lack of such planting in the future would impact upon the ability to win future Anglia in Bloom and Britain in Bloom Awards.”
Council leader Sam Hoy said: “It is a ‘no brainer’ for the town council to wish to support the team in whatever ways that it can”.
“I am sure that those people who live in Wisbech, work in Wisbech or visit Wisbech will consider this to be money well spent”.