Residents in Teignmouth are outraged after Devon Highways officers have demanded a volunteer gardeners remove flowerbed boats from a grass verge near the town centre.

Gardening volunteers and local councillors installed two boat planters on the grass verge on Parson Street, opposite the Blue Anchor pub, at the beginning of April.

Boat planters on Parson Street Teignmouth
The boat planters on the verge on Parson Street (Jo Bowery)

The boats have since been sanded and painted ready for planting with flowers to contribute to Teignmouth in Bloom.

However, Teignmouth Town Council has received a demand from Devon Highways engineers that the flower boxes must be removed immediately.

‘We have asked for the boat to be removed from the grass verge of Parson Street for safety reasons as it was obstructing visibility at the junction,’ a Devon County Council spokesperson confirmed.

Boats on the grass verge on Parson Street Teignmouth
Devon Highways demand the boat planters must be removed. (Jo Bowery)

Volunteers are adamant that the boat flower boxes on Parson Street were placed in accordance with highway rules.

Adele Hearn, who runs the Blue Anchor, said: ‘I’m crestfallen, I had organised the local community to look after the area, once it was planted and changed in to a 'pocket park'. I know a lot of people were delighted when Teignmouth Town Councillors Penny Lloyd, Dan Comer and Mike Jackman along with volunteers, started work on the area, now we don't know what is happening, we've been cast adrift.’

The move has confused the guerrilla gardeners as a similar flower boat box is situated directly on the highway in nearby Shaldon.

The volunteers also point out that the idea to introduce boat planters was based on a Devon County Council scheme called ‘Life on the Verge in Devon. In its guidance, Devon County Council says: ‘Community management of road verges is essential if we want to maintain and maximise their wildlife value.’

Devon County Councillor for Teignmouth, David Cox said he is looking into the matter. ‘Cash-strapped Devon County Council should not be undermining local residences,’ he said. ‘If there was a health and safety issue, Devon County Council should have looked to find a solution by working with the guerrilla gardeners and residents. Instead, it looks like a high-handed approach has been taken.