Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Hanging Baskets - the Controversy!
Yes, it's finally time to take a stand on one of the big issues for Winchester. Hanging baskets - tourist attraction or waste of scarce water?
Like most people, I appreciate the floral displays in the city. They certainly add colour and variety to shops and offices in the city centre. These displays have been subsidised by the City Council (when it was still under our control) to the extent of buying and selling on to businesses the planted baskets and troughs; and more significantly through maintaining and watering them throughout the summer.
We were able to identify funding for this for the next two years and planned to work out new arrangements with "Winchester in Bloom" for the future.
The south of England drought caused us to re-think the issue of hanging baskets. These are far less water efficient than troughs and were felt to be environmentally irresponsible in this year's circumstances. So, controversially, it was announced that the City Council would not be subsidising hanging baskets this summer.
Now, the new Tory administration has apparently decided to go ahead with hanging baskets anyway. We will be pressing them to do this in as water efficient a way as possible. If drought measures come into force, as many fear, we could see withered and dying flowers in the baskets in our city. Not exactly Winchester in bloom and not a much of an advert for the new "environmental" Conservative party!