PENSIONERS have been struggling to cut verges outside their homes since Southend Council stopped maintenance staff working during lockdown.

Thorpe Bay resident, Alex Allen, 77, says the grass has now overgrown by more than 15 inches and hasn’t been cut for almost two months.

He said the area is home to mainly elderly residents, some are close to 100 years old.

Mr Allen believes the council has “lied” to him about cutting having stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic, because he has seen the workers in various places around Southend.

Mr Allen, who has been pressing the issue for weeks, said: “Lots of residents have been out struggling trying to cut it themselves, it’s just wrong.

“To say I am anything but livid about this complete dereliction to a decision, is an understatement.

“I was lied to by Southend Council some time ago that all grass cutting was stopped until further notice due to the virus, we are all dealing with.

“Fair enough, but not if other verges are being cut - let’s have a level playing field.”

Mr Allen, who has lived at his home at St James’s Avenue, Thorpe Bay, for more than 30 years, added: “The council can’t even give us a date they just tell us to fill out a form online when most of us aren’t good with computers, and to wait to hear from them.

“The council put the verges there in the first place - they should replace them with paving stones if they don’t want to do it.

“My grass verge is 15 inches long now, and out of principle I refuse to cut it.”

The council announced on March 30 maintenance works would be reduced as the coronavirus lockdown loomed.

Lib Dem Carole Mulroney, Southend councillor responsible for the environment, said: “During the lockdown, and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of local residents and our staff, the council’s parks maintenance staff have been working to a reduced and modified works schedule to comply with Government guidelines around social distancing.

“This meant significantly reducing cutting grass verges in residential streets across the borough.

“From May 18 we will be starting a new programme of grass cutting in residential areas, including St James’s Avenue.”