‘Out of control’ grass in Temple Memorial Park could put lives at risk

Coun Ernest Gibson concerned over grass fires on Temple Park fields.
Coun Ernest Gibson concerned over grass fires on Temple Park fields.

A senior councillor has called for closer management of “out of control” grass on a popular field in South Tyneside.

Coun Ernest Gibson raised his concerns over the length of grass on Temple Memorial Park.

There is a risk to life but also a cost of fire engines turning out.

Coun Ernest Gibson

He fears it is a temptation to youngsters who – despite repeated warnings by firefighters of starting grass fires – continue to be oblivious to the risks.

Grass cutting is now under way and the local authority has pledge to monitor the area more closely.

Coun Gibson said: “It’s an issue which I felt needed to be raised. The grass appears to be out of control on Temple Memorial Park and could become a magnet for youngsters. Every summer, we have problems. There is a risk to life, but also a cost of fire engines turning out.”

South Tyneside district manager Bill Forster, for the fire service, said: “These types of fire tie up our crews and can prevent them from attending more serious, life-threatening incidents.

“It’s a fact that short, well-tended grass is difficult to ignite, so we wholeheartedly support South Tyneside Council in this initiative.”

Coun Tracey Dixon, the council’s lead member for area management and community safety, said: “We’re aware of the concerns raised about the grass on Temple Memorial Park.

“This is being cut back as part of the maintenance programme. The council is also working with a local farmer to take a crop cut of the rough grass for animal feed and bedding.

“This forms part of the borough’s annual summer hay cut of larger grasslands. Community wardens and local housing teams also carry out regular patrols.”