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Grass cutting in Forest Heath a month behind

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The district council has said that grass cutting has been delayed because of the wet weather (2058451)
The district council has said that grass cutting has been delayed because of the wet weather (2058451)

Grass cutting in the Forest Heath area has fallen more than a month behind schedule leaving residents in towns and villages asking when the mowers will be in action.

The contract for cutting nearly a million square metres of grass once every three weeks throughout the spring, summer and early autumn was previously held by Red Lodge-based SP Landsapes, which had worked for Forest Heath Council for the last 15 years.

This year, councillors decided to take the grass cutting ‘in-house’, prompting one resident to say ‘the problem is they haven’t been cutting the grass’.

Suzy Mallen, who lives in Gazeley, said villagers had been told by the council the wet weather had delayed the start of the cutting period and they were trying to catch up.

“Although it is a minor issue compared with cuts to spending in hospitals and schools, it has caused a lot of distress among residents who feel that their village is not being maintained as it should,” said Ms Mallen.

SP Landscapes operations manager Simon Luckings said the company was surprised when Forest Heath decided to end the contract because they had done the work on very favourable terms.

“In fact we were charging them less last year than we did when we first started working for them 15 years ago. I would be surprised if they are making any savings by doing it themselves,” said Mr Luckings.

“We had really wanted to retain the job which we had held for so long. We enjoyed working in our own community and would like to have continued.

“As part of our contract we also carried out hedge-cutting and weed spraying so I have emailed the council to offer our help.”

A council spokesman said: “We started cutting on a three week cycle last month and by the end of this week everywhere will have had its first and in some cases, second cut.”