Grass policy one cut too far?

The coucnil administration is under fire for changing the grass-cutting cycle from every 10 days to every 20 days.
The coucnil administration is under fire for changing the grass-cutting cycle from every 10 days to every 20 days.

Council leaders have been taken to task by Hawick councillor David Patterson who criticised the authority for reportedly ignoring residents’ concerns over grass cutting.

The council has recently changed the grass cutting from a ten-day cycle to a 20-day cycle, meaning that grass on roadside verges, parks and cemeteries is cut just once every three weeks.

The changes have provoked widespread protest from opposition councillors and from community councils, who say not enough consultation was carried out.

Mr Patterson asked council leader Shona Haslam if the cuts could be reversed within the financial year.

He said: “With so much anger, and the public lambasting councillors with sheer venom, and admin members now openly critical of the decision, would the leader please tell the council if there is any realistic prospect of this budget-saving measure being changed this financial year?”

Ms Haslam replied that finding £12 million of savings in the council budget has not been easy, and the council will have to find £16 million to cut next year.

She continued: “These are tough decisions that councils throughout Scotland are having to make. During this budget we’ve increased spending on roads, we’ve increased spending on priority areas such as mental health, we’ve produced a sustainable plan to review our school estates.

“That is quite a first year and one I am immensely proud of. This budget measure was passed unanimously by the council.”