CASH-STRAPPED Wigan Council has come under fire for spending £130,000 a year on flowers.
The authority has defended the outlay on its award-winning Borough in Bloom project in the last financial year, saying that it made the borough more attractive to locals, visitors and potential investors.
But a councillor protesting over the possible closure of Hindley baths accused Town Hall chiefs of getting their priorities wrong.
Coun Jim Ellis said: “I thought the authority was meant to be protecting front line services. Since when have floral displays been front line, especially ahead of facilities like baths and public halls and libraries which are all under threat?
“In an ideal world I would be happy to see the borough made pretty with flowers and hanging baskets, but given the current economic climate I would rather have a healthy swim than a pot plant.”
The council’s Borough in Bloom project aims to enhance the local environment by creating year-round floral displays in town centres and neighbourhoods.
Since it was created several years ago, Wigan in Bloom has won a host of major awards. Most of the funding comes from the Township Forums and the local councillors’ Brighter Borough funds.
A spokesman for Wigan Council said that the Wigan in Bloom scheme brought investments to the borough, but in the wake of harsh economic times, the number of displays are being reviewed.
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