Oaks Precinct residents ‘fed up’ with ‘shabby’ plants after four years of council promises

One of the displays in Oaks Precinct taken on Friday April 15
One of the displays in Oaks Precinct taken on Friday April 15
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Residents of Oaks Precinct, Kenilworth are ‘fed up and frustrated’ after four years of trying to improve the state of square’s plants.

Despite Warwick District Council repeatedly promising to improve the state of the displays in the precinct’s planters, residents are still not happy with the progress made.

Cigarette butts and weeds in another planter.

Cigarette butts and weeds in another planter.

Many believe potential customers are being put off from visiting the precinct’s shops due to the state of the planters.

Although Warwickshire County Council own the land, it is the district council who maintain the planters ‘as a favour.’

Geoff Burrows, a resident of Oaks Precinct, said: “Instead of helping the residence and retailers to attract customers to the area, the poor planting and cleanliness of the precinct acts as a deterrent as it gives the area a downbeat and shabby appearance.

“Once this shabby appearance is established it encourages the wrong image and attracts the wrong thinking, creating a downward spiral. This has to be avoided.

The poor planting and cleanliness of the precinct acts as a deterrent to customers as it gives the area a downbeat and shabby appearance.

Geoff Burrows

“It’s very sad and disappointing that after four years of meetings, promises and asking councillors, council managers and council officers, nothing has been achieved.”

The precinct has four planters arranged in a square formation, with a cherry tree in the middle of the precinct. They are filled with ‘sustainable plants,’ which cost less to maintain than more extravagant flowers.

However, many of the planters have weeds growing in them, and dead plants and discarded cigarette butts are clogging up some of the planters.

The planter closest to the precinct’s tanning salon is thought by residents to have the most attractive plants growing in it, but it has loose brickwork, which could present a health and safety hazard should someone trip over it.

Loose brickwork easily prised away from another planter

Loose brickwork easily prised away from another planter

Geoff added: “The flower boarders need to be replanted with better quality, stronger, sustainable plants. The area needs to be visited regularly, weeded and maintained.

“The contract cleaners who attend the precinct daily need to be instructed to remove the cigarette ends and rubbish from the flower boarders as well as the paved areas.”

Speaking on the online forum Streetlife in 2015, Cllr Richard Davies admitted that “some of the planting looks rather pathetic at the moment and clearly is neither thriving or interesting.”

The group has been in touch with county councillor Dave Shilton over the four years to try and improve the situation, but remain disappointed with the apparent lack of progress.

Cllr Dave Shilton said: “The district council keep an eye on the plants as a favour to the county council, and we don’t do this anywhere else.

“We’ve installed litter bins and recycling bins - we’ve put a lot of work in. As for floral plants, we’re just not going to do it as it’s very expensive. It’s not something we do in any precinct.

“If they’re not satisfied with that they should form a group and raise some funds and we’ll have another meeting with them and see where we go from there.”

Geoff and the rest of the Oaks Precinct community had been advised in 2014 to apply for a community forum grant to raise £2,000 towards improving the precinct themselves, but they turned it down as they believed it was a ‘waste of taxpayers’ money.’