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Extra £60,000 cost of tackling weeds in Basildon
8:30am Wednesday 4th July 2012 in Basildon
AN EXTRA £60,000 is being spent by a council contractor in a bid to cut down the problem of overgrown weeds and grass in Basildon.
The council’s contractor, the Landscape Group, is splashing the cash on extra staff and machinery to try to catch up after record levels of rain meant it was impossible to cut grass verges throughout the borough.
A string of complaints have been made by residents about the state of grassland around the borough which is still waiting to be cut back following major downpours in April and May.
Betty Parsons, 75, of Tinkler Side, Basildon, says the whole borough has been left a mess. She said: “Our area of the town has been really neglected. The grass verges have just been mown after months of just being left.
“It makes the town look unsightly and just blaming the rain is not good enough. The whole area has looked terrible for months.”
Kevin Blake, councillor with responsibility for leisure and arts, said: “The last three months have been the wettest on record and this has been an issue for most if not every local authority across the country.
“Much like people up and down the country have been battling with their gardens, we have had the same issues, but with over one million square feet of grass to look after.
“The Landscape Group has made great efforts to keep up with the increased rate of growth, but as people will understand cutting longer grass results in slower progress in getting back to the normal service delivery”.
Nick Temple-Heald, chief executive of The Landscape Group, added: “We have faced unprecedented weather this summer so far, probably a sequence of events that happens once every 50 years.
“I would like to thank residents for their continued patience and assure them that we working hard to return the borough to a neat and tidy condition as soon as possible.
“That is why we have developed a catch up plan and are investing more than £60,000 over and above our normal agreement with the council, in additional staff and machinery, to get back on track.”