A ‘LACK of resources’ means Christchurch council will not enter this year’s prestigious Britain in Bloom contest.

Concerns were raised by Independent councillor Colin Bungey at a full council meeting on Tuesday over the borough’s non-entry in this year’s competition.

Named the best town in 2001 by Southern England in Bloom judges, the town has been praised over the years for their displays.

Usually the council’s entry is organised by the tourism team but after staff cuts last year, the traditional entry for the popular competition has not been made.

Cllr Bernie Davis, responding to Cllr Bungey’s question about the entry said: “The competition criteria have changed significantly since the borough council first started to enter, and the emphasis is now as much on environmental issues and community involvement as it is about floral displays.

“The most successful towns these days are those where an independent community group lead the entry, raise funds and carry out the planting and environmental initiatives themselves.

“We have a good example of this in our partnership town of Wimborne where the district council has never had involvement in the competition entry which is planned and delivered entirely by volunteers.”

He said he hoped the entry next year would be led by a “community committee”.

But Cllr Bungey said: “My concern is that this could impact on tourism which we have heard many times is probably one of the largest employers in the borough.

“Many people do come to see the flowers. Having heard the reply, if we are trying to encourage community participation, can we not in some way help with financial aid?”

Cllr Davis replied: “The tourism team as it was, is no longer, and of course, it has been impossible this year. Next year, we will only be able to do it if we get the community to run it as we haven’t got the staff resources at the moment.”