Wildflower meadows branded ‘an eyesore’

GRASSED OFF ... residents are unhappy about uncut grass and wildflower meadows around Primrose, Jarrow.
GRASSED OFF ... residents are unhappy about uncut grass and wildflower meadows around Primrose, Jarrow.

RESIDENTS in a South Tyneside street have branded a controversial wildlife project “an eyesore.”

People living in Burnside, Jarrow, say that South Tyneside Council’s plan to introduce more wildflower meadows into the borough is making the street “look terrible”.

As part of the plan to introduce more wildflower meadows, grassy areas are being left uncut across various sites in South Tyneside.

Burnside is one of these areas, but as well as grass becoming overgrown, weed killer which is used to mark a border at the edge of the meadows is said to be destroying grass.

Last year, the council adopted a policy of creating 17 wildflower meadows in the borough – saving up to £300,000 a year on its maintenance and grass-cutting bill – and creating wildlife-friendly grass land.

This year, that was expanded to 60 sites after ward councillors agreed on sites they wanted to add to the scheme.

Vivienne Cockburn, who lives in the street, said: “It’s unsightly and it’s just horrendous. They’ve just made it a no-go area.

“Kids can’t play on it, people can’t walk their dogs on it because the grass is just way too long. It’s hideous.

“People used to admire this area. People walking past used to always tell me I was lucky to live around here, but I can’t imagine anyone saying that now.

“It’s a shame to have to look out of your window and see that.”

Another Burnside resident, who contacted the Gazette about the project, added: “They might be saving money, but they are making the place look terrible.

“They way they are cutting the grass is an eyesore. It was better before they did it. It’s all dead.

“On the estate in Lumley Terrace there is a grass verge and it’s a complete mess.

“They are on about all this money they are spending, but I don’t see what they are spending it on and it’s a complete mess.

“People can’t walk their dogs on the field any more, and kids can’t play on there.

“It is an eyesore. Children used to play on there, but they can’t any more.”

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “As part of a six-week consultation with local residents undertaken earlier this year, we decided that the field should become an extension of the Primrose nature reserve and, as a result, became a wildflower meadow.

“This was felt the best way to most effectively manage the area for the benefit of both people and wildlife.

“While the area has a good number of wildflower species present at the moment, funding has also been sourced to begin to increase the species diversity in the meadow area, and this will take place during the autumn/winter period.

“The area at 14 to 18 Burnside is part of the wildflower border to the local nature reserve, and the ground has been turned over to allow the sowing of the wildflower mix.”

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