CIVIC chiefs have defended the cutting of wildflowers in Southampton after criticism by residents.

In July, Southampton City Council advertised on social media that wildflower meadows had been created across the city saying at the time that they were an “amazing addition”.

Many residents captured photos and shared them across social channels, with many insects and birds enjoying the flowers and grasses in green spaces.

But, last week, residents pointed out to councillors that the meadows next to the Civic Centre were being cut away, asking why this was happening just two months after they were promoted.

Replying to residents concerns online, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for growth, Cllr Jeremy Moulton, said: “This was not authorised by the council’s cabinet and we have put an immediate stop to it and are urgently investigating the matter.”

Following this, however, council officials defended the move saying that in order to maintain the wildflowers and to mimic the agricultural habitat of animals, they did require an annual cut.

It added that this year a late summer cut has been planned for parts of the Civic Centre and Guildhall spaces, with some sections being left for a late winter cut in order to help the council see how the grassland behaves to different management approaches and guide future maintenance for the benefit of biodiversity.

Councillor Daniel Fitzhenry, the leader of Southampton City Council said: “We have thoroughly enjoyed the wildflower meadows appearing around the city this summer, especially here at the Civic Centre.

“We are committed to delivering even more next year as part of our plan to invest more in our city’s parks and open spaces, restoring pride in our city.

“As a result, with the flowers now waning, we need to start our annual cutting.This helps to maintain these habitats.