Camden in bloom cancelled as town hall cuts budget

A much coveted horticultural show is the latest cuts casualty as Camden Council prunes back its budget.

Camden in Bloom, which every summer dishes out awards to residents, traders and schools which have spruced up their environment by planting flowers, has been cancelled.

Gardeners criticised the move, which they warned could discourage residents from picking up a spade and watering can.

Alan Dallman, chairman of Highgate Horticultural Society, which celebrated its 150th birthday two years ago, said: “There is such a resurgence of interest in gardening, it is a shame they are getting rid of these events.

“People will miss it. It is very good that local boroughs have competitions. If they are taken away it will take something away from the borough.

“It can’t cost much money and it makes the borough look so much nicer, which makes people happier.

“Residents will be upset. The council should think again before cutting it.”

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John Langan, stockman at Kentish Town City Farm in Cressfield Close, said many of the gardening groups who use the farm would be upset at the cuts.

He said: “It is a good competition, it gets the community involved.

“Some people make a really big effort to enter the competition, but it is not just about winning, it is about making the environment look nicer.

“It is disappointing it is being cut. The council could have charged a couple of pounds for entry and covered some of their costs.”

Mr Langan, who has worked at the city farm for 28 years, added: “Handling the soil and watching something grow from a small seed to a beautiful flower.

“It would be nice if someone else took up the mantle.”

A council spokeswoman said the competition was axed as part of �500,000 cuts to parks.

She said: “The competition was not an essential service and in light of our financial situation. Running a smaller version of the competition is not an alternative. We have asked our partners if they would be support the competition going forward.