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Halesowen is blooming after council turnaround
12:00pm Wednesday 7th August 2013 in News
HALESOWEN is blooming after a major turnaround by Dudley Council in the face of claims the town was being treated third class.
Ambitious plans to enter the prestigious Britain in Bloom contest were scuppered last year when shabby street furniture was left unpainted and the council would not cover the cost of watering.
The chamber of trade faced months of frustration when its calls were not answered by council officers and it was feared there would be no Halesowen in Bloom to attract visitors and shoppers.
But chamber chairman Steve Fitzpatrick said the project was back on track after hard work by local councillors to bring the local authority on board and generous sponsorship from Sandvik.
He said: “There has been a turnaround by the council. Councillors Hilary Bills and David Vickers really fought for the town and have got the watering secured.
“Sandvik donated the money to have the planters and baskets planted up and the Cornbow Shopping Centre has paid for the flower bed outside the church.”
The plants have cost more than £4,000 and the town’s gardening club has helped with the planting.
Mr Fitzpatrick said the town had secured a commitment from the council to water and maintain the displays for the next three years. Lampposts have been painted and he is hopeful the council will refurbish other street furniture.
He added: “Hopefully, we will now be able to expand the scheme with the help of businesses in the town - large and small. I don’t think they understand that by making the town more attractive it will attract more visitors.”
The partnership is part of the council’s Love Your Community campaign which encourages people to take pride in where they live.
Around a dozen planters and around 24 hanging baskets are now in place throughout the town centre in High Street, Queensway, Somers Square, Hagley Road and Great Cornbow.
Organisers are now inviting ideas and contributions from gardeners, friends of parks, allotment associations and schools to help gear up the town for the Britiain In Bloom competition.
Companies interested in sponsoring more floral displays or community groups wishing to help should contact Mr Fitzpatrick on 07974 443162.
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