Published On: Thu, Apr 11th, 2024

Cash-strapped councils turfed war memorial flower beds to save money | UK | News

Cash-strapped councils are reportedly grassing over war memorials in a bid to save some extra money.

Local authorities are said to have pulled funding from their landscaping budgets as dozens more across Britain could face difficult financial decisions when it comes to their services.

This is at a time when they are teetering on the brink, with numerous councils across the country having issued Section 114 notices – essentially filing local authority bankruptcy.

The Telegraph now reports Labour-led East Lothian council has torn out the flower beds around its First World War memorial in central Cockenzie.

It says this is because of financial restraints at an “extremely challenging time.”

Residents are said to have woken up and discovered a flower garden had been ripped out and replaced with turf in December.

Lachlan Bruce, a Conservative councillor for the area, told The Telegraph: “Like all authorities in Scotland we face serious challenges because of the SNP government’s continual underfunding of local government and East Lothian in particular.

“But, fundamentally in the face of SNP funding cuts, we need to prioritise the delivery of frontline services which regrettably means decorative planting cannot be as extensive.”

A spokesman for East Lothian Council said: “As we have three gardeners with around 160 beds to maintain in the area they are responsible for, we have been looking at new options for how to best deploy limited resources at an extremely challenging time.

“There are a number of pressures on services which we are doing our best to manage.”

Elsewhere Rother district council said flower beds at the Bexhill Cemetery in Bexhill, East Sussex, would be grassed over at part of a drive to cut costs.

The issue faced public opposition with a petition stopping the move signed by more than 800 people.

Meanwhile residents in Royal Sutton Coldfield in northeast Birmingham could also see their public gardens devoid of flowers this summer after Birmingham City Council isued a Section 114.

In February, the council, which owes almost £3 billion to lenders, said the annual budget would not include funds for planters on streets or flower beds surrounding two war memorials.

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