Hanging baskets saved in Axminster

AXMINSTER traders have shown bloomin’ good community spirit - rescuing and maintaining the hanging baskets in the town after council funding was withdrawn.

Town councillor Mervyn Symes joined residents to put the baskets up at the car park in South Street, with Paula and Des Grant watering them every day.

Ann Tarratt, who is part of the community-led scheme, said the flowers had been delivered to The Guildhall and probably would have died shortly after without their intervention.

Cllr Symes said: “I support them [the traders] as a councillor and like to be supportive of the town I grew up in.”

He praised residents for their help, including the Allotment Association who had carried out planting at Minster Green. He called for people to help their town and not always depend on the council.

Ms Tarratt, from Lemon Plaice, said: “We decided to rescue the hanging baskets in the town because it would have been such a shame to leave them. I feel so passionate about the fact that we have lost another visual aspect of our town.

“It’s thanks to the ingenuity of Des and Paula, Cllr Symes, and plumber Des Schultze they have been saved.”

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East Devon District Council said it made the cuts following feedback from residents, who were asked which services were most important to them.

A spokesman said the hanging baskets were provided by EDDC and erected and maintained by volunteers working with the town council.

She said: “Flowerbeds on Devon County Council-owned land at Lyme Close and Willhayes Park have been removed and grassed over as Axminster Town Council decided not to take these on.

“It is likely that no further plants and hanging baskets will be provided by EDDC for the foreseeable future and the town and parish councils will need to make alternative arrangements for 2011.”