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Grass giving ‘grounds’ for concern

 
Created on 28/06/2016 @ 10:24
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Overgrown verges on our local highways are causing serious concerns for motorists, and now Powys County Council admits their cuts to the grass cutting budget has created a problem.

Hedgerows are overgrown across the area and encroaching onto the highways, and public grounds are looking shabby.

And following a social media outcry, the council admits that in trying to save more than £350,000 in grounds maintenance there has been a major impact on grass management.

The council cut £200,000 from the grounds maintenance funding in 2014/15 to meet budget reductions and is planning a further £160,000 reduction in coming years to meet new funding cuts.

But we can share that due to the changes, municipal areas have 10 cuts per year, highway urban verge areas are cut three times per year and rural highway verges just once a year.

Cabinet Member for Highways, Councillor John Brunt conceded: “The consequence of budget cuts of the scale faced by the service was always going to be visible in our communities with a reduction in the level of service provided. The issue, however, has been exacerbated by problems experienced by our new contractors.

“To achieve the budget reductions we have had to standardise cutting regimes to a minimum specification and re-tender the county grounds maintenance work.

“Unfortunately the new contract, which saw a phased start from north to south, did not start well with performance behind schedule and below the standard anticipated. We have raised the issue with the company at the highest level and have been assured that urgent action will be taken to improve performance.

“The company has already committed significant additional resources to the work and we are confident that they are capable of meeting the specified standards and recent performance has been positive.

“While there have been issues with initial performance we have to recognise that the minimal standard specified within the contract may fall short of public expectation. With a reduction in the number of cuts per year it is inevitable that there will be areas of long grass in the lead-up to scheduled cuts.”

 

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