Grass cutting situation verging on the ridiculous?

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Bemused Buckingham residents have been bombarding Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) with complaints as some areas of grass appear to be getting cut more than others.

The confusion has arisen since Bucks County Council (BCC) took back the cutting of grass verges on highways after its contract with AVDC came up for renewal in April.

Previously, AVDC cut the grass on the main roads into town and BCC paid it for the service on a per metre basis.

But now, BCC is responsible for cutting roadside verges while AVDC continues to cut grass on parks, open spaces and land it owns. While AVDC cuts the grass 13 times a year, BCC has taken its cutting regime down to 10 cuts a year in the name of cost-efficiency.

Since the changeover, AVDC has received a lot of calls about uncut grass on verges it is no longer responsible for.

The district council has now e-mailed all town and parish clerks explaining the situation and asking them to redirect complaints to BCC.

In the e-mail, community spaces manager Gareth Bird said: “We have been made aware of several issues with grass cutting on highway verges and have received a high volume of calls.”

District councillor for Buckingham North, Tim Mills, said: “The reduction in the number of grass cuts by the county council has been confusing as residents don’t know who owns which land and as AVDC started its cutting programme before the county.

“The county missed some areas, which are being checked, and I hope their inclusion won’t reduce the savings they planned to make.”

District councillor for Buckingham South, Robin Stuchbury, said: “It seems the handover between the district and Bucks County Council is causing the residents confusion. Residents are thinking they’re not getting the service they were before.

“I don’t think Mr Public is aware of the change of the contract and it’s causing stress.”

A BCC spokesman said taking back the grass cutting and reducing from 13 to 10 cuts were both done in order to be “more cost efficient” and the money saved on grass cutting would help towards road repairs needed following the long, cold winter.

In Aylesbury Vale, BCC sub-contracts its grass cutting in urban areas to Salcey Forest Landscape, based near Buckingham, while rural cutting is being carried out by contractor Robert North.

Contact Bucks County Council on 0845 2302882 or tfb@buckscc.gov.uk

See www.transportforbucks.net/Roadworks-Centre/Grass-cutting.aspx