Friday, 15 July 2011
NORTHAMPTON IN GLOOM
At the risk of sounding like the little boy who told the emperor that he was stark b*ll*ck naked, I am now going risk cries of "shame on you" by pouring scorn on one area of Northampton Borough Councils activities which is universally praised and feted by all three political parties at the Guildhall.
Of course I refer to Northampton in Bloom, isn't it fine, isn't it grand, the best display in all the land!
They clearly see something that I don't!
I am not in anyway against the competition, in fact if you do your homework you will find that the Borough Council entered the competition every year when I was Chair of Environment Services in the early 1990's and like the present day we won our fair share of awards, but then again you always do, and if you don't they will make one up for you just to keep you coming back to enter next year, how about "Gold Certificate in the Large Town category for Town's beginning and ending in the Letter N award! or the Platinum plate for the East Midlands Market Towns population 200,000-210,000 category?
My gripes against the current awards are many and varied, but for starters lets look at what happened in the early 1990's and match that against what happens now. Then the Councils own gardening staff worked all year round at our own plant Nursery in Cliftonville to provide plants for the bespoke planting of raised beds and roundabouts and also planted displays in our parks, cared for by our own grounds maintenance staff in order to provide a display for judging that was unique to any other entrant. Nowadays the Council but in a selection of off the shelf tubs, hanging baskets, and roadside boxes full of almost painted on petunias and begonias all with a ridiculously short growth cycle to add a pretence of colour to a backdrop which for the other 10 months of years looks drab and grey.
It's another example of thier B&Q society I guess, all right I know we all do it..... go down to B&Q and but all the pre planted tubs for the Garden on the day of the BBQ, but shouldn't we expect a bit more originality from the Council
I travel a lot around the UK and Northampton's current display is all too familiar, its as if they want to match the chain stores and traders in turning every high street in Britain into one soulless lookalike landscape, and I guess the judges must also get fed up of seeing these same old green plastic boxes hanging off of very similar traffic barriers and the familiar upstanding tubs craftily placed to trip up every blind resident in every town and city in Britain.
Even worse though is the way that the Council treat the community entrants in this charade. Our proud guerrilla gardeners in Spring Boroughs took to making the most of the land after the Council had failed miserably for years to maintain it themselves, even though they were paying a contractor out of our council tax to do it. And then when they showed the Council whats possible if you try the Council respond by popping the Mayor and Portfolio holder down for a Photo Call in order to pull the wool over the judges eyes in pretending that this community spirited enterprise was all their idea in the first place! And then when the judges are all gone they start charging the volunteers to tip garden waste which they themselves should have been clearing up in the first place!
So in honour of our Borough Councils gallantless efforts and also with grateful thanks to a few of my FACEBOOK friends who have posted pictures of their street scenes in July 2011 I am proud to present this years inaugural entrants for the
2011 NORTHAMPTON IN GLOOM awards, or THE PARTS OF TOWN THE JUDGES NEVER GET TO SEE
This prestigious prize will be awarded to the Borough Council by yours truly along with a framed photo of the winning entrant.
To enter your street just send me photo of your neglected greenscape, in order to remind our elected councillors that whilst they continue to congratulate themselves on the displays of Pansies outside the Guildhall, and pat each other on the back for passing off the communities work as their own, that the rest of us are having to put up with the same old cr*p out on the estates, which now threatens to get worse under our new friends Enterprise PLC They should all be so Blooming proud of themselves.
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