Page last updated at 08:39 GMT, Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Council defends 8,000 plant plan

A council has been accused of wasting taxpayers' money after plants and flowers worth thousands of pounds were dug up from an East Sussex roundabout.

They were removed from the Copwood roundabout in Uckfield by East Sussex County Council as they were not "in keeping with their rural location".

It said the plants, worth £8,000, would be used elsewhere within the town.

Retired grounds maintenance manager, John Pritchett, who helped design the roundabout, said it was "disgraceful".

"It looked absolutely wonderful, and had just grown to maturity over the last year," he said, adding that he felt the people of Uckfield should have been consulted in the first instance.

Native trees

In a statement, East Sussex County Council said the decision was taken following the change in sponsor for the roundabout.

"The opportunity was taken to replant the roundabout with native trees, shrubs and wild flowers, like many others in the county.

"The plants belonged to Uckfield Town Council and they have been delivered back to them for use elsewhere.

"All schemes are consulted on with the local community, funded by local sponsors, and provide environmental improvements at no cost to the council charge payer.

"There are safety benefits too, as it's been shown that carefully sited groups of trees and shrubs on roundabouts tend to reduce the speed of approaching traffic."

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