Removed - the award winning planters that helped village to Anglia in Bloom success but now labelled danger to pedestrians

Benwick planters, which have been attacked by vandals and must now be removed because they are causi

Benwick planters, which have been attacked by vandals and must now be removed because they are causing an obstruction - Credit: Archant

A village’s planters are to be removed amid accusations of criminal damage and that they are causing a danger to pedestrians.

Four planters, singled out by judges in the recent Anglia in Bloom competition as a focal point for Benwick, have become the centre of a row after complaints were sent to the parish council.

A spokesman for Benwick Community Watch, which set up the planters created out of four old tyres, said they were really upset at news they would have to be removed because of a number of complaints to the parish council.

The planters, which were set up outside a former haulage depot in Lilyholt Road, were admired by judges when they visited Benwick during the In Bloom judging this summer. The village won a silver award in its category this year.

The spokesman explained the site had become a trouble spot with teenagers using it to congregate, and community watch volunteers had cleared it of rubbish before setting the planters in place.

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“We have had so many positive comments about how much better the area looks, and how the planters brighten people’s days. But there have apparently been a few complaints about them to the parish council, who have never contacted us to discuss the issue. Instead we have been contacted by Cambridgeshire Highways and told to remove them. They haven’t properly explained what the problem is and it seems a shame. It appears some people think they are blocking the highway and could be a danger for pedestrians, but they are well lit and we chose tyres so that if someone did knock into them they would not be as badly hurt as they might be if they were wooden boxes.

“We had plans to replant them for the winter even though they were targeted by vandals who poured oil over them killing the plants, which we have reported to police. Now the site is likely to return to how it was before,” said the spokesman.

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The issue has sparked numerous comments on Benwick Community Watch’s Facebook page with everyone writing in support of keeping the planters and a petition of residents in Lilyholt Road gained 26 signatures in support.

“We were told to get up a petition which we did and everyone we approached was happy to sign it in favour of keeping the planters, but that seems to have been ignored by the parish council,” added the spokesman.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said the highways department, who owned the land, had received complaints about the planters from the parish council, which was why they had asked for them to be removed.

Highways have agreed to help with the removal.

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