Harlow Council apologises over standards of grass cutting

Politics / Thu 28th Jul 2016 pm31 02:47pm

HARLOW Councillor Danny Purton has issued an apology on the standard of grass cutting across the town.

Councillor Danny Purton, Portfolio Holder for Environment, said:

“I am aware that there are current issues with the frequency and standard of grass cutting across the town and this is causing some concern from residents and Councillors. I am disappointed that standards are not being met and I apologise to residents.

“Grass is being cut but not always within the number of working days promised and not to the standard our residents’ expect. These issues are being taken up with our Contractors, Kier Harlow, and I will be monitoring the situation very closely to ensure things get back on track sooner rather than later.

“Subject to weather conditions we aim to cut the grass in housing areas every 17 working days, highway verges cut every 24 working days with large open spaces cut every 34 working days. Some areas of grass are left long and only cut once a year to encourage wildlife and promote biodiversity.

“Service standards and grass cutting schedules can be found on the Council’s website at www.harlow.gov.uk/landscapes

“The strimming team’s main work recently has been cutting back summer obstructions along footpaths and slight-lines around main road junctions and in housing areas. This has meant that strimming around fence lines and other more remote obstacles is taking a lot longer than expected leaving areas which have been cut still looking messy.

“In addition to grass cutting, every year three town-wide weed sprays of hard surfaces are carried out. The first took place in March and Kier Harlow completed the second weed spraying treatment last week. Spraying had been delayed due to the wet weather over the last two of weeks in June; as this would weaken the chemical being applied. The third treatment is planned for the second week of September.

“It is the case that we do cut the grass less than we once did many years ago simply because we have less money, however we are aware that keeping open spaces properly maintained is a priority for residents. We currently receive £41,500 a year as a contribution to the maintenance of the highway areas owned by Essex County Council. This is roughly what it would cost to give the grass on these areas two cuts per year: but we cut it seven times a year between mid-March and mid-October, and we also provide weed spraying on hard surfaces and maintenance of trees and hedges on County Council land.”

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