In 2005 Sheffield won the best city gold medal in the Entente Florale, the European equivalent of Britain in Bloom. A very prestigious award and Sheffield was the UK entry.
The last time Sheffield entered Britain in Bloom was 2007. The council department co-coordinating Sheffield in Bloom was disbanded due to funding cuts and Sheffield hasn’t entered since. This is while nearby cities such as Nottingham, Leeds and Manchester continue to enter the competition.
Now Sheffield Council says it is getting rid of shrub beds because of drug use. I’d like to see evidence of the of the 17,000 needles they purport to have removed. Given the council downward trajectory since 2007, common sense would say it’s just another cost cutting device. No-one wrote more emails and letters than me about the importance of Amey engaging with the community and spearheading Sheffield in Bloom when they were awarded the Streets Ahead contract. But it came to nothing. And now more is being taken away from the people of Sheffield because of costs while hyping the fear of crime.
I calculated in 2011 that Sheffield Council was spending more than £9m cleaning up litter and fly-tipping. Four million pounds was allocated to the city centre alone. But somehow curing cancer is more achievable than reducing the amount of litter and spending on cleaning up.
Amey and Sheffield City Council should be focusing on resurrecting Sheffield in Bloom. The year round Britain in Bloom competition focuses on environmental responsibility, community participation and horticultural achievement. Other major cities recognise the benefits despite the tough economic circumstances.
Not even in the dark days of the 1980’s when there was no money, the steel works were closing and there was high unemployment did Sheffield take such a dystopian approach to the environment. We still had trees, flower beds and shrubs. It’s straight out of George Orwell’s 1984 what’s happening in our city now. Sheffield Council should be ashamed.
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