Anger as award-winning Cleethorpes flowerbeds are to be replaced with gravel, grasses and shrubs
AWARD-WINNING flowerbeds on Cleethorpes seafront are to be replaced with grasses, gravels and shrubs this week to save money on maintenance.
Work to dig up large sections of flowerbeds along Kingsway will start today and it is believed that three of the seven large sections will be replaced with Mediterranean-style gardens.
These will contain birch trees, pine trees, perennial flowers and grasses, surrounded by gravel, slate and wood mulch – similar to the arrangements on roundabouts such as Isaac's Hill and Bradley.
The new gardens will cost North East Lincolnshire Council less to maintain, at a time of budget-cutting.
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However, the move has been criticised by Cleethorpes In Bloom's Jeff Blanchard, who believes that it should be delayed until after October, when 500 gardening-lovers will descend upon the resort for the Britain In Bloom awards.
Mr Blanchard called the flowerbeds "the jewel in the crown" of the resort and claimed removing some of them could damage their In Bloom entries in the future.
"People are coming from all over Britain, Ireland and the Channel Islands to see why Cleethorpes has done so well and I don't think the timing of this decision is right," he said.
"I understand that the council has to make difficult decisions, but In Bloom awards put Cleethorpes on the map and attract tourists, bringing money into the resort."
However, the criticism angered Councillor Mick Burnett, portfolio holder for tourism and culture, who claims that he consulted Cleethorpes In Bloom members before the decision was made – but they voiced no complaints.
Mr Burnett said: "It's disappointing that this has been brought up after our plans for the flowerbeds were agreed in principle with Cleethorpes In Bloom and again during a tour of the resort with one of our officers.
"Environmental responsibility is one of the scoring criteria used by Britain In Bloom and I think these new displays will keep Cleethorpes looking as pleasant and inviting as it's always been."
But Tracey Wood, manager of Kingsway Kiosks, worries that the move might put off tourists.
"People often comment on the flowers and some come down just to see them. They make me proud to work in Cleethorpes."
Visitor Jess Tilston, 21, of Fulstow, said: "The flowers add a bit of colour to the resort and make it worth coming to visit.
"They have helped us win all these In Bloom awards, which advertise the resort, so it's a shame to lose them."