OVERGROWN grass and untidy verges are not going to help bring people into Hereford, a city sales adviser has warned.
Herefordshire Council is slashing its grass-cutting service around the county.
The change will see the mowers out on many sites only three times a year when they were previously trimmed on seven occasions. The local authority says the cuts will save £1.25m per year.
Allan Hooper, a sales adviser with Euro Heat in Bishop’s Frome, is concerned the changes could put people off coming to the city.
He said: “I was walking my dog around the College Road area and in some places the grass is already eight to 10 inches high. It was long enough to be noticeable and it can actually be quite hard to walk on.
“If you like walking in the wilderness it’s great, but really it just looks untidy.
We are trying to bring more people into Hereford and have just opened the Old Market development, which looks really smart, but if no one is mowing the grass then it will just look a mess.
“I understand that money has to be saved but it will probably end up costing more money to cut it all when the grass is long.”
Cllr Philip Price, the cabinet member for infrastructure, said despite the cuts and the £33m that needs to be saved overall, the council will continue to make sure the highways remain safe.
He said: “We’ve had to tailor the resource levels to meet the budget but we will continue to keep the highway safe by cutting the visibility splays, carrying out weed spraying and maintaining the trees.
“We have improved the efficiency of the remaining resources through better deployment and scheduling, and by setting clear, productive targets.”
Despite this we need to reduce all grass cutting frequencies from the current seven times a year to three times a year, although rural verge cutting will remain the same. We will also look to develop community grass-cutting schemes.
“On the positive side, we will see the largest single investment into Herefordshire’s highways network for many years.
“The capital budget for 2014/15 has been increased from £10.4m to £34.26m and this extra money will be used to improve the overall standard of the network through a programme of drainage and re-surfacing works.
“This will make a significant difference to the county’s roads.”