War memorial flower beds ditched by councils in bid to save money

War memorial flower beds ditched by councils in bid to save money

WATCH: Esther McVey: "Councils asking for more money will be told to cut down"

GB News
George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 11/04/2024

- 11:33

Councillors have been left bewildered after beloved beds have been replaced with grass turf

Cash-strapped councils are tearing out flower beds in order to save money, much to the anger of residents.

It comes as dozens of councils across Britain face making severe spending cuts in order to stave off financial collapse.

Meanwhile, more than £50million of taxpayers' cash was spent by local authorities on equality, diversity and inclusion roles.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has already ordered local authorities to ditch diversity schemes in a bid to clamp down on wasteful spending.

War memorial

The War memorial in the centre of Cockenzie, Scotland

Google Maps

One of the places that was impacted was Cockenzie, near Edinburgh, where the Labour-led East Lothian Council has torn out flower beds surrounding a First World War memorial in the town centre.

The the flower garden that surrounded the memorial was torn out in December, leaving residents heartbroken.

Conservative councillor for the area Lachlan Bruce 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.

"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."


\u200bVesey Gardens

Vesey Gardens in central Royal Sutton Coldfield

Google Maps

A row erupted in the West Midlands after the town of Royal Sutton Coldfield was informed in February that Birmingham City Council budget would not include funding for planters on streets and flower beds surrounding two war memorials.

Birmingham City Council owes almost £3billion to lenders and has recently cut its budget for street lighting, anti-graffiti measures, cultural heritage and landscaping in public green spaces.

Conservative councillor David Pears said: "For a number of years the town has been neglected by Birmingham [City Council]. We were set up [a town council] a few years ago and are well run with a small budget."

He added that Birmingham City Council informed them the funding would be cut at "very short notice and the town council had to make a decision almost on the same day." He said that it should "never have happened" as residents have been paying council tax to Birmingham "for years for services that haven’t been delivered."

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.

"While the inner flower beds at the war memorial have been retained, grass has been laid at the location of the previous outer beds. Polyanthus have been planted at the war memorial for spring colour and these will stay as annual bedding.

He added that it was expected the benefits of the changes "will become visible in the fullness of time."

A Birmingham City Council spokesman said: "Birmingham City Council’s current financial position means it cannot fund such installations of plants and flowers in Sutton Coldfield at present."

They added the Council was working with Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council to ensure that displays were maintained, saying their upkeep was being funded by the town council.

You may like