WREXHAM will not be submitting entries to a national horticultural competition this year - despite winning the event for the past two years.
The council says there is no money available to enter the event, even though the fee involved is just £275, plus the costs incurred from the upkeep of areas involved in the 2013 route.
The town took part in the 2012 and 2013 Wales In Bloom competitions, coming away with the gold after triumphing in the category for areas with a population of more than 70,000.
Last year saw judges visit venues and gardens including Holt, Wrexham recycling centre, Borras Infant School, Smithfield community garden and Wrexham town centre.
But council leader Cllr Neil Rogers told Wrexham Town Centre Forum members on Tuesday that there was “simply no money” to enter the competition this year.
“We’re having to find one pound in every four pounds of public money”, he said.
“It is a case of looking at what is mandatory and what is discretionary.
“If you think it’s been tough this year, wait until next year and the following year.
“There is simply no money for the council to enter us into projects such as Wales In Bloom.”
Smithfield community gardens were part of Wrexham’s winning display last year and Cllr Keith Gregory has voiced his anger at the decision not to enter.
He said: “When we started the area was full of beer bottles, cans and needles. It was a terrible place but we have managed to do it up with little grants and volunteers coming and giving us a hand.
“It’s the decrease in grass cutting that is the problem. You are not going to win anything with two cuts a year. It’s just not good enough and I think we are going to end up with an unsightly town.
“It’s not going to stop us. I will encourage people to carry on and we will do our best as usual.”
Committee members involved with Chirk In Bloom have also decided not to enter this year’s competition, despite their previous successes. Last year they came second in the class five small town category which would cost £100 to enter this year.
Chirk South councillor Terry Evans said they had funded previous entries independently of Wrexham Council but with the reduction in grass cutting it would be too much work.
He added: “It was a very difficult decision to take. It is a shame but there is a lot of work and a lot of money that goes into it.
Despite the decision not to enter, Cllr Evans said the group would be doing their best to make sure their work over the years does not go to waste.
“Chirk will still be putting in a lot of effort to keep the town looking good for residents and tourists.” he said.
Christine Ashford, chairman of Chirk Gardening Club, said the council’s decision not to enter the competition was ‘really sad’.
She said: “I know there is an entry fee but it is not a lot of money to find and we have had a lot of good publicity as a result of the competition.
“I am really sad for Wrexham, it is not a wise decision to make and I think what has happened is the environmental budget cuts have affected it.
“In some ways I can understand why the council have to cut things but I think they are looking at the wrong areas. People could buy bulbs and seeds to help out. If we could get that attitude back perhaps we wouldn’t need the money from the council.”
A Wrexham Council spokesman said: “Communities can enter separately under the rules and we would encourage them to do so and keep up the good work that has been undertaken by so many over the past six years. We wish them all the best of luck.”