FLORAL displays in Westbourne have been called “an absolute disgrace” by the chair of a community environment group.

Chairman of Westbourne in Bloom Reverend Chris Colledge has said that this years flower displays are “an insult to traders, residents and visitors” after their maintenance was taken over by a business association.

Rev. Colledge said: “The people who have worked so hard voluntarily over the past 30 years would turn in their graves to see this year’s dead floral pedestals.

“The displays in Westbourne are an absolute disgrace this year and an insult to the traders, residents and visitors of the town. Westbourne in Bloom has had nothing to do with the flowers for the past two years as the responsibility was taken over by the Westbourne Business Association, in liaison with the Coastal BID.

“What an extremely sad situation. Embarrassment and ridicule are now the only fitting terms applicable to this year's planting.”

Bournemouth Echo: Anger over lack of attention to Westbourne in Bloom. Picture: Chris ColledgeAnger over lack of attention to Westbourne in Bloom. Picture: Chris Colledge

Rev. Colledge also suggested that the cost of planting flowers this year was arranged by Westbourne Business Association and paid for by the Coastal BID in the region of £4,000.

The fee included provisions for watering the plants which, Rev. Colledge says, has not been done.

He added: “My understanding is that the supplier of the plants who would have normally been responsible has walked away. The consequence of such actions has meant that all the flowers in the pedestals have either died or been left without any due care or maintenance.”

However, the director of the Westbourne Business Association has questioned Rev. Colledge’s concerns. Dawn McLachlan said: “With regards to the anger Mr Colledge is feeling regarding the planting in Westbourne, I would comment that if he felt so angry, why did he not approach us to try and find a solution to the problem instead of going to the newspapers?

“With regards to the £4,000, I have no idea where this figure came from, flowers are supposed to be sponsored, but this has not happened, so money is taken out of levy money.

She added: “Whilst we are not happy with the situation, unfortunately, we have not been able to find someone to water. Therefore, the way things are at the moment, there are no plans right now to replace them.

Bournemouth Echo: Westbourne in Bloom flower displays in previous year. Picture: Chris ColledgeWestbourne in Bloom flower displays in previous year. Picture: Chris Colledge

“We are hopeful that when things are back to normal we can once again make Westbourne proud of their flowers.”

Until 2019, Westbourne in Bloom had arranged the flowers in the town and liaised with traders for sponsorship of pedestals and hanging baskets.

The Daily Echo has approached Coastal BID to comment.