Hose row rages amid confusion

MIXED messages concerning the hosepipe ban have cast foreshore flower planting schemes into further jeopardy and could adversely affect the wider economy, the district council has warned.

As reported in last week’s Standard, East Lindsey District Council applied to Anglian Water for a hosepipe ban exemption so that it could water the newly bedded planting scheme included in its £600,000 Skegness Foreshore improvements.

Anglian Water refused the request, despite the council’s fears that it would result in wastage of taxpayers’ money and could hinder the wider visitor economy, if the Foreshore was not maintained in an attractive condition for tourists.

Now the district council has accused the water company of feeding it contradictory information about the regulations surrounding who can use a hosepipe and under what circumstances. Communications team leader James Gilbert said: “We just want a clear answer and we cannot seem to get that because they keep contradicting themselves. We completely appreciate their position and we already do a great deal to conserve water but this is about helping the economy for Skegness and the wider region.”

A letter from Anglian Water’s customer services dated April 11 confirmed that if ‘a contractor is hired to do such activities then the use of a hosepipe for the hanging baskets will be acceptable as they are hired for the job and therefore this is the sole purpose of their business.’

ELDC understood from this that if it hired a private company to carry out the watering then hosepipes could be used, despite being told that its own staff could not. Mr Gilbert believed that policy to be rather bizarre and unhelpful as it would cost the council large sums of taxpayers’ money to hire a company to do work it was already capable of carrying out itself.

However Anglian Water has since retracted its position on private contractors, saying that there would be no exemptions for that kind of work.

A spookesperson for Anglian Water said that was an old policy and that it was ‘surprised’ that the council wanted to have an ‘argument’ over the matter.

“It’s vital that we all do our bit to conserve water and I would like to think the disttrict council would set an example and lead the way rather than arguing about it.”