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  • "Herefordshire Council entered into the Balfour Beatty contract in September 2013. I assume that during negotiations for the contract HC told BB what work they required doing and BB said how much it would cost? Therefore if Cllr Johnson is to be believed the decision to not cut the grass was made in Sep 2013? Because if it wasn't and BB were commissioned to do this work then they are surely under contract to cut it? Has Balfour Beatty returned some of the money for grass cutting or we're they never paid to do it in the first place? Tony Johnson keeps saying we have to make cuts to stay in budget! We need to see exactly where the money is being spent! Your figures and your excuses don't add up Mr Johnson! Put a freeze on all new posts! You've done without them so far! Stop inventing new posts at extortionate salaries for staff we don't need and don't pay a single penny more to a Consultant!! Look within your organisation and utilise the skills you have!! You still have a lot more Managers than you need!! If one manager can't manage 20/30 staff then get rid of them! You promise a three tear structure from the bottom to the top to date you have 4, 5 and in some cases 6 levels!!!"
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Grass supremo named after cutbacks storm

Ledbury Reporter: Rhys' car after the collision. Rhys' car after the collision.

GRASS cutting now has its own county council cabinet member.

The decision follows a public petition protesting the plan to reduce grass cutting in Herefordshire from seven to three times a year.

And it comes after a young driver crashed his car into a field because a warning sign ahead of a sharp bend was obscured by long grass.

The roads and transport portfolio handed to Cllr Paul Rone has a brief for “close liaison” with the council’s contract partner Balfour Beatty over delivery of the annual maintenance plan, which includes grass cutting and street cleaning.

Cllr Rone went hands on with his new brief this week having bought a mower with his member’s allowance to work with businessman Aaron Mullen and other volunteers to keep the city’s sports pitches in order.

One pair who would like to see more mowing are Rhys Evans and his friend Jacob Thompson, 19.

They were travelling to Tillington from Hereford in separate cars when Rhys – who has been driving for eight months – left the road.

He had not seen a warning sign ahead of a bend due to long grass and drove his car into a field.

The friends, from Lower Bullingham, had been travelling in convoy when Jacob – who was in front – lost sight of his friend.

“When I went back and saw the car, I thought ‘oh my God he’s dead’,” said Jacob.

“But his worst injury was from a stinging nettle from crawling out,”

After the pair had calmed down, they realised the sign was hidden in the verge.

“I don’t know how he survived it,” Jacob added. “It annoys me that the accident could have been prevented if the sign was visible.”

In a statement, Herefordshire Council said a team from Balfour Beatty Living Places had been dispatched to ensure the warning sign is situated in its correct position and it is not obscured by vegetation.

Council leader Cllr Tony Johnson said the authority would talk to “anyone” who could make a contribution to grass cutting.

“What’s going on is not Balfour Beatty’s fault, they’re doing what we asked of them,” said Cllr Tony Johnson.

“I’m anxious to address the present situation, but I can’t and won’t bust the budget to do so.”

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