Council cuts force floral display rethink in Glenrothes

Cuts could affect the number of displays in future
Cuts could affect the number of displays in future

The floral displays that have brought the town a deluge of accolades and awards could soon be scrapped because of swingeing budget cuts.

Glenrothes councillors were told that the displays, which have brought a splash of colour to much of the town centre and its approach roads for the last decade, will be “scaled back” as part of Fife Council’s bid to bridge a £77 million budget deficit.

Jim Leitch, parks, streets and open spaces team manger said staff shortages had made the maintenance of the displays “no longer viable”.

“Last year we had hanging baskets and bedding plants, but we’ll be reducing them as we don’t have the manpower to do it any more,” he told councillors at this month’s area committee.

The development of the town’s flower beds and floral decorations was largely triggered by Glenrothes being presented Urban Realm’s unenviable Carbuncle award in 2009 - given for bad planning and architecture.

Since then Glenrothes has become the envy of many following being named as Scotland’s most attractive town in 2012 in the Keep Scotland Beautiful competition.

The following year the town scooped the gold medal large town award in the prestigious Britain in Bloom competition organised by the Royal Horticultural Society.

However, not all displays will be axed.

“They won’t be all taken away but we are in the position that we have to consider what we can realistically achieve in the future,” Mr Leitch told committee members.

The reduction in personnel and the huge increase in tree complaints now being experienced by Mr Leitch and his department, have also had an impact on the future of Glenrothes’ floral displays.

“We have lost 15 staff positions because of budget cuts and we are struggling to cope with the amount of complaints,” said Mr Leitch.

With budget cuts threatening the future of the town’s famous floral displays Margaret Reilly, a former member of the team responsible for the success over the last decade, told the Gazette it would be “a shame” if the displays had to be scrapped.

“The town has achieved everything it could in terms of awards and the stark reality of cuts has been a sad reality for some time, but I and many others be disappointed if the town reverted back to what it had before which was practically nothing,” said Margaret.

“Glenrothes has been a template for success and replicated by towns such as Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy, I would hope they could keep the sponsored displays on key roads at least.”