New fund will stop grass cutting farce

Uncut grass in Fishermead earlier this year
Uncut grass in Fishermead earlier this year

A CONTINGENCY fund has been put aside to help the council avoid a repetition of this year’s grass cutting farce.

The £300,000 safety net will cover any shortfalls in the city’s landscaping service.

The money has been put aside for next year’s budget and was agreed with cross party support after a review into the service following failings in the grass cutting schedule.

This summer many residents complained that grass had become overgrown in their estates and a review was ordered by the council’s scrutiny committee.

The authority admitted mistakes had been made after the first cut of the new year, supposed to take place in April, was postponed due to unseasonably warm conditions which left the ground too dry.

Soon after the city was hit by months of heavy rain which led to the grass growing at an accelerated rate, a mistake councillors admitted during the review.

The council has looked into transferring the management of services to a number of areas around the city including various parish councils and The Parks Trust.

However, Mr Geary explained this would not be possible as the council works on an input system rather than an output system meaning it cuts the grass a number of times a year, currently 10, rather than keeping it between a maximum and minimum length.

He said: “Work is still ongoing and we are starting to draw up a budget for February. We would rather include that £300,000 now as a contingency plan rather than wait until the last minute and be left with a huge hole.

“It could be taken out and spent on other services and if that does happen we will be in a better position.

“We want to make improvements to the service and we are looking at ways we can do that.

“We listened to the scrutiny committee and with cross party support we have included this money in the budget.”