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West Suffolk Council apologises after mowing wild flowers in Newmarket planted by group



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An apology has been issued by West Suffolk Council after an area that had been planted with wild flowers was mowed, destroying the hard work of a local group.

The flowers had been planted by Newmarket Community Nature Reserve to help enhance green spaces around the town with blooms of wild flowers, and the council had initially planned to mow only parts of the sites in Millbank and Valley Way, while leaving the wild flower areas untouched.

However, the green spaces, which had been sowed with the flowers during a public planting session on June 4, were mistakenly mowed in their entirety earlier this week.

Members of Newmarket Community Nature Reserve planted two beds of wildflowers earlier this month - which have since been mowed. Pictured are Richard Webb with Cathy Wecke, Nevaeh, Anna McDowall and Sophie and Laura Nunes
Members of Newmarket Community Nature Reserve planted two beds of wildflowers earlier this month - which have since been mowed. Pictured are Richard Webb with Cathy Wecke, Nevaeh, Anna McDowall and Sophie and Laura Nunes

After the mistake was pointed out, the group contacted the council, and a statement was released by Cllr Andy Drummond, cabinet member for environment.

“This was a mistake on our part. We have learned from it and we have apologised immediately,” he said.

“We were supposed to mow this area but only certain parts. We work closely with this community group who are doing great work and we will, with them, not only replace the flowers and re-establish these wild flower areas but also look for other areas where this can also happen.”

Details of further areas to be planted have not yet been finalised, but West Suffolk Council has been active in supporting the environment, allocating £730 to wild flower planting, bulbs and bird boxes in Risby in January 2020, having declared a climate change emergency in 2019.

Newmarket Community Nature Reserve, which models itself on predecessor the Felixstowe Community Nature Reserve, had stripped back sections of turf earlier this month and seeded the area with a native mix of seeds at the two locations after gaining permission from the council, and had hoped to arrange more public planting sessions in future.

The main goal of the group is to get people outside enjoying what nature has to offer, but also to improve biodiversity in the local area and help improve the image and visual appeal of the town.

The group was contacted about the council’s mistake, but declined to comment, adding that it was in discussions with the council over the situation.