Row over Harpenden flower beds

Harpenden Retailers and Business owners who have complained about the state of the flower beds they

Harpenden Retailers and Business owners who have complained about the state of the flower beds they are standing next to. Harpenden Directory's Tony McFarland, Talkeasy Siya Rahimi, Ripples Martin McDonagh, PS Design Pete Salo and Woosters Kaija Josephides - Credit: Archant

Overgrown and unsightly flower beds at the northern end of a high street have sown the seeds of anger among local traders.

Harpenden town council (HTC) has been accused of not ensuring sufficent care and attention has been paid to the flower beds in the High Street with new planting left unwatered and weeds allowed to run amok.

Former town councillor and Harpenden businessman Tony McFarland has had a running dialogue with HTC on behalf of fellow traders about the condition of the flower beds and particularly one which has been designated as a trial bed where box hedging has failed to establish itself.

He maintains that the problems have stemmed from poor soil quality and little or no watering and has been calling on HTC to improve the situation as soon as possible.

Mr McFarland is particularly concerned about the impact of what he calls an “eyesore” has had on local businesses and described the work which had been carried out there to date as having “failed miserably”.

He pointed out that budget money had been allocated to improve five flower beds at the north end of Harpenden High Street following complaints by local retailers that the beds were overgrown, dangerous and unsightly.

But after nearly a year, all that had been achieved was one failed flower bed which he described as a waste of taxpayers’ money.

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HTC is now planning to replace the blighted box this autumn with a hedging plant recommended by the Royal Horticultural Society and if that is successful in establishing itself, it will be rolled out to all the flower beds.

A spokesperson said that Harpenden Town Council had allowed for a six month trial when the bed was planted up in March this year and needed to trial the new hedging to make sure it did not waste its money by planting all the beds if it did not establish itself.