Petition launch to save nursery

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CAMPAIGNERS fighting to secure the long term future of Scarborough Council’s plant nurseries have set up an electronic petition to gather support.

It is the first of its kind to be launched on the council’s petitions website and was instigated by the Friends of Manor Road Nursery group.

Group chairman Dorothy Russell said it gave people of the borough a voice of their own regarding the future of the nursery which could be under threat as part of a money-saving move to outsource the supply of plants.

She said: “Scarborough Council wants to close its Manor Road Nursery site and outsource the growing of its plants to an outside company to save money.

“We think this is very bad news. It may not save money in the end but it could well cut the quality of our parks and gardens. We are working with other friends groups and with some borough councillors to try and persuade the council to review its proposal but we need the public’s support as well.”

Previously council officials have said that the proposal was specifically about the outsourcing of plants and no decision had been taken to close the nursery and sell-off the site.

Campaigners are hoping to arrange a site visit next week after they were disappointed when one which had been arranged for yesterday morning was cancelled at the 11th hour.

Manor Road Nursery is due to be discussed at Tuesday’s meeting of the council’s Cabinet after the matter was called in for further scrutiny.

Members ruled that the decision to outsource the supply of plants should be deferred while a working group investigated the issue further.

In a cabinet report by Hilary Jones, the council’s strategic director, she said: “The current spend on buying in plants, trees and shrubs is between £50,000 and £60,000 per annum dependant upon displays and special events.

“This spend is spread across a number of different suppliers.”

She added that developing a Framework contract for the supply of plants would ensure that the council complied with procurement rules.