Council cuts back... on grass cutting

Grass is being left uncut after cash-strapped Wakefield Council was forced to reduce its maintenance of green spaces around the district.

Saturday, 20th June 2015, 9:00 am
South Elmsall & South Kirkby town council have decided to cut the grass on the fields behind the old Moorthorpe swimming pool, as Wakefield Council are refusing to do it as part of the funding cuts. L to R) Tom Allsopp, Charles Robinson, Clive Hitchinson, Kevin Ward, Peter Jordon, Lynne Whitehouse.

Wakefield Council, which had to cut £81m from its budget over the last four years and faces £38m in savings this year, said it would be leaving some grassed areas uncut to save £125,000 a year.

Some town and parish council’s are in talks to take over responsibility for grass cutting to prevent their parks becoming overgrown.

South Elmsall Town Council has taken over grass cutting at playing fields behind Minsthorpe Pool because of budgets cuts at the district council.

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Town council leader Steve Tulley said: “We are happy to step in but people must recognise that these things don’t come for free and it costs money.

“This is not a blame game because there have been big funding cuts by the government.”

Coun Tulley said South Kirkby, South Elmsall and Upton town councils were in discussions about the maintenance of other grassed areas.

Coun Maureen Cummings, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for environment and communities, said: “Looking after our green spaces is an important part of what we do and we have over 2,650 acres of grass in parks and countryside areas to deal with.

“We recognise that residents value and appreciate these spaces so have given careful consideration to how we can carry out this work and still make the much needed savings.”

“This year we are leaving some small grassed areas uncut, which will help us save £125,000.

“We will still be looking after these places and footpaths will be cut and the borders will be trimmed so people can still walk about.

“The majority of the grass in our parks will still be cut on a regular basis, as has always happened.”

Wakefield Council is struggling to carry out all its duties as a local authority because of massive budget cuts.

The council has already admitted it is unable to fix all the potholes on the district’s roads and must prioritise the worst-hit streets for repairs.

Now grass cutting is being reduced to plug shortfalls in the local authority’s budget.

The council said its decision to leave some small grassed areas uncut would affect all areas of the district apart from ward 18, Wakefield Rural.

Wakefield Council’s Maureen Cummings said: “We have worked very hard to protect frontline services during the last four years of cuts, and will continue to try and limit the impact on our residents.”