COMMUNITY leaders are worried Bank Street Gardens could be ‘turned into a lawn’, when SBC changes its maintenance service later this year.

Last week the council invited green-fingered groups to a ‘Spring Seminar’ to discuss the future of grass cutting and planting in the region. And it was attended by representatives from Gala in Bloom, who say are concerned about potential changes.

At last Wednesday’s meeting of the town’s community council, chairwoman Judith Cleghorn said: “We attended the Spring Seminar and it was proposed that we look after just four small patches in Bank Street Gardens for shrubs or perennials.

“We were also told that grass cutting will now be done on a 20-day cycle, rather than 10 days – except on the sport pitches and at Bank Street Gardens.”

Johnny Gray, who also attended the seminar added: “From next year, it was suggested that there will be no bedding plants and no hanging baskets which normally hang along Bank Street. They would not exist.”

Community councillors hit out at the proposals.

Bill White said: “I think it is a disgrace. This could basically turn Bank Street Gardens into a lawn.

“People could just walk over it, if it is going to be grassed over.”

The community council also agreed that the town would not enter this year’s Floral Gateway awards.

Ms Cleghorn said: “We did not enter the competition last year, because we were of the opinion we don’t need a contest for us to make the town look good.”

Mr Gray added: “The gardens over the past two years have been outstanding in the town. The planting will be of a high standard, regardless of the competition.”

Scottish Borders Council said it was working with communities to ensure “green spaces remain attractive places to visit”.

Last week executive member for neighbourhoods and locality services, Sandy Aitchison said: “We know 2018 was a challenging year in terms of the changes to grasscutting maintenance but we need to do things differently due to the significant financial challenges we are now facing.

“This year that means deciding what to do with bedding plants, with options including introducing hardy annual or perennial flowering plants or turfing over areas, which is why the input of local community groups is so important ahead of any decisions being made.”