Cowgate traders’ anger at council cut for planters in Peterborough

Traders on the edge of Peterborough city centre have been left outraged after councillors axed funding for the maintenance of a string of flower planters.

Thursday, 12th December 2019, 12:00 pm
Updated Saturday, 1st February 2020, 4:08 pm
The planters in full bloom in Cowgate. ENGEMN00120130729143715

Now business owners in Cowgate are demanding to know who will take responsibility for planting and maintaining the 17 cast iron planters that were put in place as part of measures to restore the street’s faded Victorian glory.

The troughs were installed about six years as part of an £800,000 refurbishment plan by Peterborough City Council.

But the Cowgate Traders’ Association say that traders paid for the planters - at a cost estimated to be about £875 a trough - with the council agreeing to maintain and fill them twice a year.

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A picture of Cowgate from the PT's archives. EMN-190320-154819009

But now the cash-strapped city council says it can no longer afford to pay for the blooms to adorn the planters and their maintenance.

The association members say the council has simply reneged on the deal.

Andy Brook, who runs Brooks Wealth Management and is a member of the Cowgate Traders’ Association, said: “There is a lot of annoyance among traders here at the council’s decision.

“The troughs were put in place as part of an effort to enhance Cowgate.

The official reopening of the refurbished Cowgate. ENGEMN00120130908162946

“Now the council has removed all the flowers and is refusing to maintain the planters, which are now full of cigarette butts.

“It’s a shame that something that was meant to raise the area should now be working to the detriment of the area.

“Members of the association contributed to the cost of the troughs and at the very least the council should reimburse the cost of the troughs to the association.

He added: “Some members want their money back but other just want the council to keep to the agreement.”

John Drewnicki, former chairman of the association, said: “We are more than disappointed. We feel the council has reneged on the agreement.”

Councillor Marco Cereste, cabinet member for waste, street scene and the environment, said: “The council is having to review every area of its spending to make sure money is spent on services which are needed the most.

“This is because of an 80 per cent cut in our government funding since 2013 and demands for services increasing. As a result, there are some areas of spending which we have had to stop, such as the budget we used to maintain these planters.

Cllr Cereste added: “We have been speaking to traders in Cowgate who have shown an interest in the future maintenance of the planters.

“Discussions are ongoing but we will provide an update when we are able to.”