CharvilEarleyFeaturedWokingham

Psst… anyone seen a lawnmower for the borough?

RESIDENTS have been taking to social media asking when the Borough will be given a short back and sides.

The recent hot spell has seen grass grow at rapid rates and, as witnessed by The Wokingham Paper, large swathes are waiting to be scythed.

On May Day Holiday Monday, Hillside councillor Pauline Jorgensen revealed on Facebook that the Head of Cleaner and Greener services at Wokingham Borough Council had been out and about to inspect the levels of growth around Hilmanton in Earley and had agreed it wasn’t good enough.

Responding to the post on the Earley Residents Discussion Group, residents shared some of their grass growing hotspots, in a situation similar to two years ago when the grass cutting contract was first switched over to contractors ISS.

Some said that the length of the grass was so tall that it was impossible to pick up dogs mess, while others felt that areas were unsafe for children to play in.

And on a drive around the borough on Sunday, May 6, The Wokingham Paper could see the height of the grass was around a foot high around Shute End, on the A4 between Sonning and Charvil and in Earley by the Suttons Seeds roundabout, among other places. The situation was the same in many places a week later.

Cllr Lindsay Ferris, leader of the Wokingham Liberal Democrats, said: “We raised concerns about the contract and performance of the contractors back in 2016, when the grass cutting that was done was an utter disgrace. I fear that it is much the same this year.

“It was very wet until recently, but that does not stop them doing their work now. The problem will be that the grass has grown very quickly of late and now the long grass when cut will look a complete mess.

“This we feel is just another case of a Council taking its eye of the ball and where the wishes of the residents has been long forgotten.”

However, Wokingham Borough Council defended the grass cutting service saying it was business as usual.

Its executive member for environment, Cllr Norman Jorgensen, said: “The council’s annual grass cutting service began after the Easter weekend this year, on Tuesday April 2, and is continuing as it has for the past two years.

“Following problems with regular cuts in the past, the borough changed to a flexible contract that has six cutting crews to target areas that most need cutting in order to keep all grass at an appropriate length – so, for example, we will keep play areas and grass verges in urban areas short. We have also introduced specialist equipment to deal with wider expanses of grass.

“The heatwave of the last few days has caused very rapid growth and such an occurrence will inevitably mean we have to play a bit of catch-up but the crews are working hard to keep on top of the issue.”

What do you think? Has your estate been left off the grass cutting list? Are you worried that Triffids are about to invade? Send your views to news@wokinghampaper.co.uk

Phil Creighton

Editor of The Wokingham Paper, and has worked in local journalism for more than 20 years including the Wokingham Times, Bracknell Standard and Reading Evening Post. He's also written for computer magazines, The Baptist Times and, to his delight and probably not yours, interviewed several Doctor Whos.

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