Rothesay flower beds petition ‘could risk other services’

The floral displays in Rothesay's Esplanade gardens - cultivated at the nursery at nearby Ardencraig - could be under threat from budget cuts at Argyll and Bute Council.
The floral displays in Rothesay's Esplanade gardens - cultivated at the nursery at nearby Ardencraig - could be under threat from budget cuts at Argyll and Bute Council.

People who signed the petition in support of Rothesay’s much-admired floral displays, and the nursery that produces them, could have unwittingly put other council services at risk, according to one Bute community councillor.

Paul Duffy praised those behind the petition, which was submitted to Argyll and Bute Council earlier this monthe with 1,854 print and online names - but said he had not signed because he was worried about the message it might send out about local priorities.

Speaking at BCC’s January meeting this week, Mr Duffy said: “We have to be very careful with petitions. I appreciate the time it takes to organise one, and hats off to anyone who gets off their backside and does the work, but it’s not just the flower beds and Ardencraig Gardens that are under threat.

“We have to be very careful about what we represent as a community - whether we want flower beds instead of teaching assistants, public toilets or whatever.”

Axeing secondary school librarians, cutting school non-teaching staff numbers, closing all council-run public toilets and grassing over Rothesay’s flower beds are just a few of more than 140 ‘savings options’ being considered by the council as it aims to bridge a projected budget gap of up to £26 million over three years.

“There are some things we might be able to do something about as a community,” Mr Duffy added, “but we can’t do anything about the loss of librarians or classroom assistants.”