£3.4k 'McDonald's logo' hanging baskets spark village anger
A hanging basket display that cost £3,400 has sparked anger in a south Somerset village.
The display, opposite South Petherton’s library on St James’s Street, has been likened to the logo of fast food chain McDonald’s and branded a waste of money.
South Petherton Parish Council commissioned the baskets using a £2,700 grant from South Somerset District Council’s Market Towns Investment Group.
Earlier this year the parish council agreed to contribute £300 towards the display.
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But an increase in the cost of the project means the parish council now has to pay a further £400 to the project.
Parish councillor Adam Dance, of South Petherton, said there should have been a consultation on the design and cost of the hanging baskets.
He said: “In my personal opinion it looks awful – people have said it looks like the McDonald’s logo.
“It’s too modern, it’s not in keeping with the village.
“There should have been a consultation over what it would look like, and I don’t think it is right that there’s been an overspend.”
Parish clerk Sharon Blake said money the parish council put towards the display came out of its investments fund, which has been “under-spent” this year.
She said: “Certainly there are lessons to be learned here, there shouldn’t have been an overspend.
“The money we received for this had to be used to improve the appearance of the village – we couldn’t put it towards any of the services being cut by the district and county councils.
“Opinion on the baskets in the village is split. Some people really love it, others don’t.”
She said the plans were available for town councillors to view before the work began.
The hanging baskets were suggested by a member of the public after an appeal for ideas in a parish newsletter.
South Petherton parish councillor Brian Herrick said: “I fully support the idea of environmentally enhancing the village as much as possible, but as in all things there should be a fully considered view on expenditure such as this.
“My own personal opinion is that £100 worth of trees would have sufficed and been ecologically much better, allowing the district council grant to be spent on more useful projects and requiring no funding from our parishioners.”
South Petherton parish council’s chairman Tim Rutherford has resigned from the parish council.
He did not comment after the Western Gazette contacted him last week.
Mrs Blake said he had not given a reason for his resignation.
Vice chairman Simon Nevitt is acting as chairman until the post is filled at the next parish council meeting on November 5.