Town Councillors keen to see Bradley Stoke enter the Britain in Bloom competition have set aside a budget £18,000 to drive the project forward.
The move follows the publication of a reader letter in The Journal in April 2011, in which a resident complained of the lack of flowers around Bradley Stoke and called on the community to get together to brighten the town up.
The Town Council has now responded by transferring £10,000 previously earmarked for ’roundabout enhancement’ to a new ‘Britain in Bloom’ budget and supplementing it with £8,000 transferred from the £10,000 previously reserved for ‘allotment provision’.
In a discussion on the matter at the September Full Council meeting, former Mayor Cllr Robert Jones said:
“We have talked a lot about this in the past but have come up against a brick wall when we’ve asked South Gloucestershire Council to help.”
“Lots of other parish/town Councils have managed to do something. We should be looking to enter [the competition] and win our category within five years.”
Having assigned the budget, plans are now being made to get the project off the ground in the New Year. Last week’s meeting of the Council’s Planning Committee unanimously agreed to a suggestion from Cllr Jones that “an open public meeting be arranged for February 2013 to gauge support for the Britain in Bloom competition”.
Cllr Jones and Cllr Elaine Hardwick will take the lead roles in organising Bradley Stoke’s entry into the competition.
Councillors say they hope that the project will eventually become self-financing and Cllr Hardwick has suggested that the many companies based at the Aztec West Business Park could be approached for sponsorship.
Cllr Hardwick also suggested that local gardening enthusiasts might be invited to take on plots on roundabouts and verges, although Cllr Keith Cranney warned that a careful risk assessment would have to be undertaken before this could be allowed.
Bradley Stoke has a stiff task ahead if it wishes to compete with neighbouring town of Thornbury, which was this year crowned ‘Champion of Champions’ by the Royal Horticultural Society.
Thornbury began with a Hanging Basket Scheme as long ago as 1991 and in recent years the town has won four consecutive South West in Bloom gold medals and two national Britain in Bloom awards.
Photo: Floral display outside Parky’s Chippy in Thornbury. [©South Glos Post]
Roundabouts’ appearance has been an issue for years
Residents have been asking for years for the appearance of the many roundabouts in Bradley Stoke to be “brightened up”, a fact acknowledged by the Town Council as long ago as 2004 when its Annual Report said the Mayor and Councillors were “saddened by the disappointing appearance of Patchway Brook Roundabout [near Aldi] – the first roundabout that you see on entering Bradley Stoke”.
Earlier this year, the Town Council announced that a local contractor had volunteered to install floral displays on Patchway Brook Roundabout but nothing appeared over the summer and a meeting in August was told that the contractor has only got as far as “getting the grass up to a good standard”.
Allotment provision: Private enterprise comes to Council’s rescue
Bradley Stoke Town Council has been looking for potential allotment land of its own since it received a petition from a group of local electors in 2008, which it was obliged to consider under the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908.
A potential solution to the problem has now arisen with the opening of a commercially-run allotment site at Hortham Farm in Almondsbury, where 30 new plots were released in March.
The Town Council recently agreed to offer a refund of up to £40 to any Bradley Stoke resident who pays for a recognised allotment plot within a five mile radius of Bradley Stoke and expenditure records show that £277 has been paid out to nine claimants in November alone.
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