Bucks County Council 'finds' an extra half a million to spend on clearing the county's weeds

Bucks County Council offices
Bucks County Council offices

Towns and villages across Bucks should look “smarter and tidier” in the coming months after the county council agreed to spend an additional £500,000 on clearing weeds.

Bucks County Council’s cabinet met yesterday morning (Monday) to discuss the authority’s last ever budget before the transition to a unitary council in April 2020.

Cabinet member for transport Mark Shaw announced an additional half a million of funding has been allotted to rid town centres and villages of unwanted overgrown greenery in the forthcoming financial year.

A total of three chemical sprays will be carried in the busiest areas of the county, while two teams will be sent out to physically remove weeds from more hard-to-reach places.

Cllr Shaw said: “The leader and I met with Transport for Bucks a couple of weeks ago, and in discussions with them we have been able to find an additional half a million as a one-off for this coming year, which will allow us to spray three times the most populated areas where weeds grow on the roads.

“Hopefully a substantial amount of the growth we have seen over the past couple of years will be dealt with and Bucks will be looking smarter, tidier and clearer of weeds.”

Speaking after the meeting Cllr Shaw told the Herald the half a million had been found from 'a contingency fund.'

Cllr Shaw added the possibility of a weed clean-up had been discussed over the past four to five months and that they had been looking at finding a way of spending heavily on this issue.

Leader of Bucks County Council Martin Tett says the council “owes it to residents” to “clear up the county” – but reminded members it is busier towns and villages that will be focused on, rather than rural roads.

He said: “I do not like the way in which we have some scruffy town centres and village centres, we have been really financially constrained in recent years.

“What I am trying to do is, within our resources, free up some money for a pretty thorough blitz of the weeds across the county.

“This is currently a one-off, but I think we do owe it to the public to try to find the money to clear up the county.

“It is the towns and villages, not the country roads that will be done and I can’t guarantee that every town and village will be done.”

During the meeting members discussed a report by the county council's budget scrutiny committee, which outlined ten proposals, including setting aside cash to assess the condition of street lighting across the county.

Council tax is also set to increase by 2.99 per cent, or 74p a week for a band D property.