Stoke & Staffordshire

Stoke City Council will not fund Chelsea flower garden

The council's 2014 garden
Image caption Stoke-on-Trent City Council budgeted £450,000 to enter the 2014 Chelsea Flower Show

Stoke-on-Trent City Council will not be exhibiting at the Chelsea Flower Show next year after it was criticised for budgeting £450,000 for the 2014 show.

Council leader, Mohammed Pervez, said the council would only enter again if "substantial external sponsorship is guaranteed".

The council previously said the show led to "emerging investment opportunities" with "key influencers".

Critics said they were pleased with the decision during a time of cuts.

The council, which announced plans to save £20m this year, turned down a recommendation from its renewal office, which said the council should agree a budget of £250,000 to enter the flower show again in 2015.

Answering a public question on the issue, Mr Pervez said the council was not intending to enter the Chelsea Flower Show in 2015.

The council has still not confirmed how much it actually spent on the show this year, though the cost is believed to have been less than its £450,000 allocation.

Councillor David Conway, leader of the City Independents group, said he was "very pleased" the council would not add to the "harsh resentment" it created with its flower show budget at a time of cuts.

"They should never have taken part this year," he said.

The council's May 2014 entry, the Positively Stoke garden, won a silver gilt award.

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