Grass cutting row goes on

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A plea to ensure lawnmowers are deployed more often in the Borders’ cemeteries has been kicked into the long grass.

However, council chiefs have pledged to do their best to keep graveyards as tidy as they can.

At last Thursday’s full meeting of Scottish Borders Council, administration leaders were again taken to task by opposition councillors relaying the complaints they’ve had since the authority moved its grass-cutting regime from a ten-day cutting cycle to a 20-day one.

Despite vehement criticism, the council has repeatedly refused to backtrack on that change, saying that a consultation carried out in December 2017 was supportive of the cutbacks and that the budget had been agreed by the full council in February.

Now, opposition councillors are suggesting that areas such as cemeteries and village greens be designated as high-amenity sites, putting them in the same category as playing fields and entitling them to more frequent grass-cutting.

Executive member for neighbourhoods and locality services, Councillor Sandy Aitchison, said: “In managing our budget situation, this administration agreed changes to grass maintenance, which included cemeteries.

“This administration has listened, and continues to listen, to feedback from communities around these changes.

“The importance of our 154 cemeteries and burial grounds to the community is well established.

“Officers understand that an acceptable level of service is to be provided in cemeteries, given our financial constraints, and we’d encourage people to continue to engage with council officers.”