Gardening group is told to go
COST-cutting has led to the impending closure of a plant nursery in west Cornwall.
The Penzance Community Flora Group has hit out at how the issue has been handled, saying they were unnecessarily forced out of the nursery site at St Clare.
The planting plot, currently used by Cormac Solutions, is linked to Cornwall Council's plans to sell St Clare and move authority staff and services to St John's Hall, Alverton Street.
"We were told that we were quite safe and had a year," said Fiona Thomas-Lambourn, founder of the flora group and town councillor.
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"Then they told us we had until the end of October to get out – then we were told we had to be out in a week.
"How is Cormac going to grow things for baskets, roundabouts and flower beds near roads when they leave? It is going to be chaos."
The Cornishman understands that Cormac, which is commissioned by Cornwall Council to maintain and manage grounds and public spaces, is moving out because County Hall is scaling back the number of plants the organisation is being asked to produce.
Cormac said it has decided to cease operating from St Clare in a bid to make "significant revenue-saving and operational efficiencies".
The move left the flora group, whose work helped scoop a silver award for Penzance in the South West in Bloom awards, searching for new planting and storage equipment, costing hundreds of pounds.
The John Daniel Centre, which looks after people with learning disabilities, has since come forward and offered them a space at their Heamoor venue.
"It is going to be a huge job to get everything sorted," said fellow flora member Ken Prouse, who added that John Daniel's users will also be invited to learn how to grow plants with the group.
"We have lots of work to do but plenty of people are coming on board to support us."
A spokesman for Cornwall Council said: "The need for the Penzance Community Flora Group to vacate the site has arisen due to the imminent withdrawal from the site by Cormac. The plan is for Cormac to relocate thereby making significant revenue savings and operational efficiencies."