Confusion over future of town’s ‘In Bloom’ entry

THERE is confusion over whether Battle will enter next year’s South East In Bloom competition following an apparent split in the group which heads up the town’s entry.

The Battle In Bloom committee was set up to allow Battle Town Council and Beautiful Battle, a voluntary group which plants and maintains gardens throughout the town, to liaise with each other with regards to the town’s entry into the annual South East In Bloom competition.

Each year Battle enters the Small Town category.

But for the 2014 competition, Beautiful Battle has indicated it would like to enter as a community group, rather than be part of the town’s entry.

Battle Town Council must now decide whether it wants to go ahead and enter the competition anyway.

Discussing the issue at Tuesday night’s town council meeting, vice chairman Cllr Sylvie Pry said: “Beautiful Battle want to enter in their own right.

“They do not want to be involved as a Battle entry but a community entry.”

Cllr Margaret Kiloh said the council needed to make a decision about the town’s future in the competition.

She said: “Does the town council want to go it alone and enter the competition?

“And if so, how are we going to fund our entry and make decisions if Beautiful Battle have said they are not participating?”

Cllr Richard Jessop said: “If this council was to continue with South East In Bloom it needs enthusiasm and a willingness to get involved.

“That does not always happen through our membership as a council.”

Cllr Paula Fisher said: “I wonder if the heat and pressure would be off if, for a year or two, we decided not to enter but concentrate on making the town look lovely?”

A number of flowerbeds and tubs cared for by Beautiful Battle are on town council-owned land.

Council groundstaff are responsible for watering the displays.

Cllr Jessop said: “We should point out if the Battle Town Council is not involved there may be implications.”

But Cllr David Wilson warned that the council needed to maintain a good working relationship with Beautiful Battle.

He said: “We still need a liaison group even if it’s not for the town’s entry.

“We do not want to fall out.

“We want to support the work they do but we need to be working together.”

Councillors and members of Beautiful Battle are expected to meet soon to discuss the matter further.