LESS than 48 hours before the East Midlands in Bloom judges descend on Daventry, the town has come in for a torrent of criticism.
The move to enter the competition was announced just two weeks ago by Daventry District Council (DDC) and its environmental contractor Enterprise.
However, it has faced a race against time to get the town looking its best before the judges visit tomorrow (Friday) with many fearing it is just a waste of time.
Cllr Wendy Randall, Labour leader on DDC said: “I have lived in this town since 1985 and it is the worst I have ever seen it.
“The only improvement I have seen is the planting of some flowers in a bed near to the police station, there has been nothing else done.”
She also feared for the town’s reputation as a consequence of entering the competition.
Cllr Randall added: “It is laughable that we are entering and everyone I have spoken to has said the same thing. I thought it was a late April Fool’s Day joke when I heard.
“There is overgrown grass and weeds growing out of the pavement, I think there are currently more weeds than flowers in Daventry.
“I don’t know what the thinking has been behind us entering Britain in Bloom, I can’t understand it.”
Many residents have echoed her views with some taking to social networking sites Twitter and Facebook to complain about the overgrown grass.
Mum of two Jennifer Hardcastle, 33, who lives on Middlemore, said: “The Vale is in a poor state again, and it’s a real struggle to get the buggy over the grass to the play area. I’m worried I’m going to break the wheels.
“There’s also lots of nettles and thistles growing right next to the play area which isn’t very safe for children.
“I also go running, but a lot of the verges by the pathways are overgrown and it’s impassable in places. You’re forced onto the road at some points.”
However, some believe there are positive signs for the town.
Paul Taylor, chairman of Drayton Resisdents Association said: “We have refurbished the green and it has helped improve our part of the town. The hanging baskets looked after by Daventry Town Council also look good.
“However there are parts of the town which do look disappointing.”
Enterprise, the company behind the grass cutting, have pledged to bring the town up to standard before the judges’ arrival.
The company’s partnership director Simone Wade said: “The overgrown grass is not too bad. The weather has not helped in cutting it though.
“We are putting extra resources into clearing up the grass, people will be working overtime and we are very confident the town will be ready before the judges arrive.”