Parish council to save money again on winter planting
Dunchurch councillors will plant up the winter displays themselves
DUNCHURCH Parish Council is going to look after its own winter planting in the village for a second year after turning down a bid from a voluntary group - in order to save money.
The Friends of Dunchurch Society (FODS) offered to do the council’s winter planting displays, but the parish council said at its October meeting that the quote they put forward was too high.
The parish council paid £126 last year to buy winter bedding plants for the council-owned planting displays, which councillors then planted themselves. The council had budgeted £200 for the displays this year.
Dunchurch parish council owns 24 plant pots in the village - mainly on the greens and the four on the corner of Vicarage Lane.
In previous years the council had paid Rimo, previously based where Solstice is now, to do the displays, and in 2019 FODS was paid to do the work.
On 24th September FODS asked the parish council for £424 to buy plants, plus £100 for the work to be done by their volunteers.
A letter sent by the group to the parish council said: “We suggest that the planting labour costs be kept to a minimum and FODS volunteers will do it. In return for [it] the DPC will make a £100 payment to FODS for carrying out this work.”
The requested £424 was for 756 pansies, 200 tete-a-tete daffodils and 12 dwarf conifers.
Parish councillors unanimously rejected the FODS offer at the meeting on Monday 11th October.
Council chair Tracey Price said: “The main reason for rejecting the quote from FODS for the winter planting of the DPC pots was due to the significant difference to what we have budgeted and the value of the quote.
“We have committed a substantial sum of money to summer planting this year and will continue to do so, but we felt as long as our pots look tidy and colourful our budget figure is adequate.
“In previous years the planting has been completed by a company and in 2019 by FODS. Last year DPC councillors planted the pots up and we agreed we could do this again this year if necessary. This way there are no overheads for planting and it was something we enjoyed doing.
“Over the last couple of years we have been able to save some of the more hardy plants which still look perfectly healthy and reuse them. This also applies to the large number of bulbs which were saved. This has cut the cost significantly and we therefore felt the budget was adequate for winter planting.
“DPC is responsible for public money and we have a duty to manage and look after the money for the whole parish, which extends up to the Cawston boundary.
“It is only right and proper we utilise the funds across the parish as a whole and not focus on one specific area. DPC has a variety of ongoing projects which we hope will benefit the whole community,” she added.
Friends of Dunchurch Society vice-chair Tony Kember responded: “Our winter 2021 scheme, which we were asked to quote for by DPC, is for a fully comprehensive scheme, supplying and planting for the winter/ spring period.”
FODS was recently awarded ‘outstanding’ in the national RHS Community Awards event.
It was set up in 2018 and is preparing to be formally registered as a charity. Once a charity has an annual income of more than £5,000 it is obliged to register with the Charity Commission.
Mr Kember added: “Our registration has since been delayed by Covid restrictions. We have already instructed a solicitor to draw up the necessary documents for registration with the Charity Commission and we will be calling an AGM in the New Year.”
The parish council and Dunchurch Festival Group donated money to FODS last year towards buying and install four planters at the entrance to the village. FODS maintain these displays themselves and have been out doing winter planting for them.