‘Heavy rain’ to blame for Northampton’s long grass problem claims environment chief

Councillor Dennis Meredith says the height of grass in the East of Northampton has got to "ridiculous" levels.

Councillor Dennis Meredith says the height of grass in the East of Northampton has got to "ridiculous" levels.

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Northampton Borough Council’s environment chief has apologised after grassy areas were allowed to grow to almost wilderness length in parts of the town during the start of summer.

Green parts of the Eastern district have become so overgrown in recent weeks, some areas have a blanket covering of eight-inch-high grass and weeds.

The grass in Southfields.

The grass in Southfields.

Yesterday Councillor Dennis Meredith (Lib Dem, Talavera) had to take his lawnmower to an area around the Southfields road sign as the foliage had covered a set of planters installed by the local residents’ association.

But cabinet member for the environment, Councillor Alan Bottwood says the recent overgrown patches are down to heavy rains and “recent mechanical problems.”

He said: “Enterprise, who manage the grass cutting on behalf of the council, have had difficulties recently due to heavy rain across the area which stops the teams from cutting the grass and also causes it to grow faster.

“The weather, combined with recent mechanical problems, has led to delays in the grass cutting.

Dennis Meredith shows the length of the grass around Southfields.

Dennis Meredith shows the length of the grass around Southfields.

“Enterprise assures us they are working hard to ensure all areas are cut as soon as possible and they have recruited extra staff and brought in new equipment to help them do this in the agreed route order.

“We anticipate a significant improvement by the end of the month and would like to apologise for any delays that residents have experienced.”

But Councillor Meredith believes blaming the rain is a “feeble excuse” - particularly when wet weather is hardly unusual in British summertime.

He said: “The grass has grown to ridiculous lengths all round the Eastern district.

The grass in Southfields as of July 11.

The grass in Southfields as of July 11.

“I have reported it so many times.

“This has been going on for eight or nine weeks, everyone is complaining about it.”

“How is it that a 74-year-old councillor has to get his lawnmower out to cut the grass because they can’t?”

A discussion over the council’s contract with Enterprise is likely to form part of next Monday’s full borough council meeting.

In a report written by Councillor Bottwood, he states work is progressing well on the “re-provision of environmental services” once its contract with Enterprise ends in 2018.