Fringe Box



Letter: The Decision on Floral Displays Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

Published on: 14 Sep, 2023
Updated on: 14 Sep, 2023

From: James Walsh

Labour borough councillor for Bellfields & Slyfield

In response to: Guildford’s Floral Displays Might Have to Be Cut to Save Money

We all accept that the council, along with other local authorities in similar or far worse financial predicaments, will have to make a series of deep and hard-hitting cuts to services – this is ultimately the result of years of severe reductions to funding for local government, high inflation and economic mismanagement by successive Conservative governments.

The proposed freeze on the flower displays is the first potentially visible example of this in Guildford.

While I understand why it has been proposed by officers, I am concerned that the loss of the flowers will accentuate a feeling of a high street in decline. The flowers bring vivacity to the town and their loss, combined with too many empty shopfronts and the embarrassment that is North Street, will be felt by many visitors.”

I have asked if requests for sponsorship have been made and was assured that this was part of the process – so all is not lost yet. But I must warn residents that this is just the tip of the iceberg and, unfortunately, there will be many more unpopular decisions to be made in the near future.

Guildford Labour Party will continue to campaign and fight for better alternatives as the council works through this, working with other parties and individuals where we can, in a very difficult economic environment.”

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Responses to Letter: The Decision on Floral Displays Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

  1. Patrick Oven Reply

    September 15, 2023 at 10:37 am

    It could be argued that the cost in the overall scheme of things is minor, and that that is more than outweighed by the pleasure and improvement to mental health such planting schemes bring.

    However, most people in the borough will now be aware of the parlous state of Guildford’s finances. In the current circumstances, many would now regard such spending as a luxury.

    We should try to avoid piecemeal cuts in favour of an overall saving policy. I would expect to see other relatively small savings announced soon, which together I hope will amount to a coherent policy.

    I understand that avenues for sponsorship of floral displays remain under active consideration, though given time constraints to obtain plants for next year, sponsorship might not be feasible until 2025.

    Patrick Oven is leader of the Guildford Greenbelt Group at GBC

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