PARENTS and coaches have taken to cutting the grass where their football club trains, claiming the council is failing to maintain the area.

Youth side Essex Royals Football club train every weekend in Nevendon Park, Wickford.

For the last year, coaches say they have been fighting a running battle with grass as long as a “wildlife reserve, and are pleading for Basildon Council to maintain the space regularly.

This weekend, a parent brought along a lawnmower to tackle the towering grass which has reached eight inches in places, according to coach Lee Hammond “The grass cutting situation is getting beyond a joke,” Mr Hammond said.

“It has been an ongoing issue for about a year now and we have resolved to cutting it ourselves, as whenever we ring the council to complain we just get generic responses back about seasonal grass cutting.”

After being contacted by the Echo, Basildon Council stated the grass would be cut today.

Mr Hammond, who has been a coach at the club for more than a year, added that youngsters aged four to ten at the club struggled to kick the ball at times as a result.

He added: “The council are keen to big up a healthy lifestyle for kids playing in parks on their website, but they seem to refuse to cut the grass.”

Councillor Kerry Smith said: “It is pretty clear when you look across the borough the council is not keeping up with grass cutting.

“Right now, it is one of the biggest complaints in my inbox, residents asking when the grass will be cut in their favourite park.

“These grassy areas are not being kept on top of, and that is following a dry April, so the council doesn’t have any excuses.”

A Basildon Council spokesman said: “Nevendon Park’s grass will be cut tomorrow. We regularly inspect the area to make sure it can be used and enjoyed by everyone that uses our parks.

“Across the borough, we have introduced certain areas of relaxed mowing around grass verges, roundabouts, and in some of the more uninhabited areas of our parks and open spaces. This is to help improve our borough’s biodiversity by allowing wildflowers to thrive and pollination to increase, making our open spaces healthier and contributing to our climate change targets of becoming a carbon net zero council by 2030 and a net zero borough by 2050.”