Town to shoulder grass-cutting duties?

IN the light of Herefordshire Council cuts, pressure is mounting to re-launch a community group which could make all the different between the grass being cut and it growing wild this year.

One idea is for the community, or the town council, to appoint and fund a so-called "lengthsman" who would have the task of attending to designated stretches of road and keeping verges neat and tidy.

The issue was discussed at some length at last week's town council meeting in the Market House.

Coun Phill Bettington, a town councillor and a Herefordshire councillor for Ledbury, said the Greenspaces group, which has currently been moth-balled, "should be kept going, and we should make it stronger".

"The group could be linked to the appointment of a lengthsman," he added.

The Greenspaces group, which is run by the town council but also involves members of the public, has not met since last autumn, when Herefordshire Council contractor, Balfour Beatty took over from the previous contractor, Amey.

Since then, Herefordshire Council has made it clear that the £40m allowed for its infrastructure budget this financial year will mainly go on road repairs.

Coun Philip Price, the cabinet member for infrastructure, in an official statement said: "The amount of money available to deliver routine services like grass cutting and street cleansing has reduced and we have had to make some difficult decisions about how and when these services are delivered."

Greenspaces is still to enter into a dialogue with Balfour Beatty.

But Coun Liz Harvey, a Herefordshire councillor for Ledbury, and a town councillor, said she would be "disappointed" if the Greenspaces group did not revive, "whether or not Balfour Beatty engages with us".

She said: "To my view, it is very important that we continue for our own benefit, and for our own reasons. In some places Ledbury is Dandelion City, and it will only get worse."

Coun Eager, chairman of the town's Greenspaces Liaison Group, said: "I'm all for Greenspaces being revived. We do have a lot of green spaces in Ledbury that need looking after."

No final decision has yet been made.

In its initial form, the Greenspaces group acted as a liaison between the town and Amey, concerning its open spaces and walks such as the Town Trail and Riverside Walk.

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