Peterborough City Council has urged businesses to sponsor empty flower beds across the city, after the local authority stopped planting flowers due to budget cuts.
The council say the decision to no longer plant flowers will save £50,000 per year - which will contribute towards closing a £27 million gap in its budget.
The council said the savings will help fund statutory responsibilities, such as providing for the elderly and vulnerable adults and supporting children in care and families in crisis.
Councillor Steve Allen, deputy leader of Peterborough City Council, now says that the local authority is reviewing ways to continue planting - which include working with volunteer groups and new sponsorship opportunities.
“We are actively looking at ways to ensure that planting can continue in the areas where we will unfortunately no longer be able to do this, due to the council’s overriding priority to make financial savings,” he said.
“As part of this work, we are engaging with Friends groups, whose help and participation has been invaluable so far.
“We do of course want our summer bedding areas to continue to be used and are open to sponsorship opportunities for these. If any interested parties would like to enquire further, I am happy for them to contact me.”
Locations in Peterborough where flowers will no longer be planted - and could be available to sponsor - include Central and Itter parks, Bishop's Road, Lido Gardens and in the city centre.
The council’s decision was criticised by councillor Nicola Day, Peterborough’s Green Party leader, who raised concerns about the environmental impact of the removal of plants could have.
Councillor Allen added: “We feel that many areas could benefit from planting beds being returned to grass as they were in the past and will be exploring this option where appropriate.
“We are also looking at new ways to better utilise our planting areas by including perennials and plants more attractive to pollinators such as Lavenders, also evergreens like Ferns, as well as wildflower areas where suitable.”
Leaders of Peterborough’s newly created Business Improvement District (BID), which will name its new manager within a fortnight, have expressed an interest in restoring the floral and shrub plant in the city.
Mark Broadhead, chairman of Peterborough Positive, which is overseeing BID, said: “We had shared our concerns with the council about some of the proposals for the city centre.
"Now we have started discussions to see what it might be possible for us to do.
"I am sure we can do something.
"Improving the environment of the street scene is one of the BID’s key objectives. But we can't just put in £50,000 – we don’t have the money.
“It will have to be some sort of collaboration of partners in the city.”
He added: “But we can’t undermine the expertise that is already here within the council staff. This is an opportunity to bring the experts together to ensure a great outcome.”