A ROW over the city council's decision to ban hanging baskets has continued after national newspapers picked up the story. 

It comes after the city council voted to replace traditional displays of flowers with “living towers” and “parklets” (curbside seating areas) on Monday, after a report ruled that baskets and pots “offer little in terms of increasing biodiversity”.

Councillors also agreed to potentially kill off “Gilbert”, a floral display in the shape of a dragon, amid concerns 30,000 litres of water was required to water it last year at a cost of £700

The budget for the 2023-24 floral displays, including Gilbert and watering, is £30,000.

The debate has made national news, with the Times, the Telegraph and the Daily Mail all covering the story. 

'Leave the hanging baskets alone'

Conservative councillor Eleanor Wills has heavily criticised the decision, saying the council leaders are "seemingly completely content with destroying the city centre to meet their own egotistical agenda".

Cllr Walls says they should leave the hanging baskets alone, keep the traditional floral displays and "stop promoting nonsense which pushes visitors and residents alike away".

'Trying to set an example in climate-friendly planting'

Responding to the fallout, independent Cllr Annie Riddle, one of the leadership group, said: “Cllr Wills, whose antics have already cost the council £40,000 for a pointless poll, has claimed she wants to work with the leadership, but has held councillors and our hardworking officers, who can’t answer back publicly, up to ridicule in the national press.

“Their crime? Trying to set an example in climate-friendly planting, Cllr Wills is probably congratulating herself on diverting attention from next week’s bad news for residents of the ward that she and I represent, Harnham West.

“This involves proposals from Conservative-controlled Wiltshire Council to cover yet more of both East and West Harnham, including our local garden centre, in concrete in its latest Local Plan Review, up for Cabinet approval in Trowbridge on Tuesday. Another 590 houses.

"She’s worried about hanging baskets. Apparently. What’s she got to say about our green fields?”

In response, Cllr Wills said: “Does Cllr Riddle not expect scrutiny on her decisions and those of the administration she represents? The Conservative group I lead at Salisbury City Council are doing a very strong job of challenging what is going on and we won’t stop.

The fact that this has become headline news on a national scale shows just how out of touch Cllr Riddle and the other administration councillors are with the majority of the people they represent. Enough of this saga. Salisbury deserves better.”