A PENSIONER has accused council chiefs of being more interested in cost cutting than grass cutting near his home in South Tyneside.
Walter Cue says grass cutting surrounding Hertford Avenue, Harton, South Shields, is left for weeks on end, and will ‘prove a false economy’ if it is not trimmed more regularly.
Mr Cue, who has lived in Hertford Avenue for 16 years, says he has been in touch with local councillors and asked for the grass to be cut more regularly.
South Tyneside Council says the land near Hertford Avenue is close to a nature reserve which requires vegetation to be managed in a different way than other green areas.
Mr Cue said: “I have spoken to the councillors about it. A lot of other residents have also complained about it.
“The area is close to the Leas, where the Great North Run route goes through, and it only seems to be cut when the race is coming up.
“Some of the grass by the footpaths is at the height of my head. It could be used for people to hide in, it is that long.”
He said: “It is a false economy.
“The longer you leave the grass, the longer it will get, and the more man hours and staff it will take to cut it.
“I have been told it will be cut in time for the Great North Run but at the moment it looks horrendous.
“It is needless and unnecessary.”
Mr Cue also wants grass directly outside Hertford Avenue to be cut every fortnight.
He says the grass was cut recently – but that was for the first time in five weeks.
South Tyneside Council says rather than simply letting the grass grow under their feet, it is carefully managing an area ‘recognised as internationally important’.
A council spokesman said: “Hertford Avenue is adjacent to Harton Downhill Local Nature Reserve, known locally as Blackberry Hills, much of which is recognised as having internationally important and very rare magnesian limestone grassland vegetation, and which has resulted in part of the site being declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
“The council has to manage this type of vegetation in a different way.
“Last year, we carried out extensive public consultation on our management plan to ensure it reflected what the community required as well as to meet our statutory obligations, and no objections were raised.”