RESIDENTS living in South Warrington fear a great North v South divide is being created by Warrington Borough Council when its comes to grass cutting and emptying litter bins in local parks and play areas.
People living in Lymm have been complaining about the complete neglect of public spaces by WBC – Ridgway Grundy Park particularly, but also all grass areas.
Local resident Kieran Walshe said: “They seem to have completely ceased grass cutting and bin emptying
“The park has rubbish strewn everywhere because bins are not being emptied, a lot of it is unusable because the grass and weeds including nettles are a foot to two feet high, and there is a real health problem with dog mess – dog owners can’t clear up after their dogs in long grass.
“A neighbour of mine was so exercised about this that he went around taking pictures of various parks in Warrington.
“They clearly illustrate what looks like the old problem of WBC ignoring/neglecting Lymm.
Mr Walshe added:”The grass has not been cut for months, and is so long and full of nettles and weeds that most of the park is unusable by children, dog walkers and so on.
“The bins are rarely emptied and are always overflowing with rubbish strewn around the play area. It’s a disgrace.
“They say its because of budget cuts, but Victoria Park in Warrington is still being maintained, and they can still afford to cut the lawns outside the Town Hall.”
Local Cllr Sheila Woodyatt added: “I am working very hard, as I have done for the last 35 years to try and get a good deal for Lymm – but I cannot perform miracle!
“There have been cutbacks and we now only have four men working in Lymm instead of eight. Ridgway Grundy park is a jewel in the crown of Lymm and I will do all I can to try and ensure it is looked after as it deserves.
“Funnily enough people think the Council spends more in Warrington South than the North. It was ever thus. When I was Mayor it didn’t matter where I went they always believed that everywhere else did better than they did.”
Former leader of the council and fellow Lymm councillor Ian Marks added: “We know that all councils are having to make savings but this is no excuse for the neglect we are starting to see in our open spaces.
“I am quite sure there is plenty of scope for the Council to work in a more joined up way and more creatively so that more can be done with the resources available. Closer collaboration with the Parish Council, local volunteers and Friends’ Groups is a fruitful way forward too.
“What disturbs me is that there is some evidence that open spaces across the town are not being treated equally. Looking at some of the parks in the inner areas it appears they are not suffering in the same way that open spaces in the outer areas are.
“It would be quite unacceptable if the Labour Administration was favouring the wards they represent.
“It seems rather strange that at a time when so much investment is being put into parks in the town to improve them, the Administration is cutting back on their maintenance. It doesn’t make sense.”
A Council spokesperson said: “The council has faced severe reductions in the funding available to pay for our local services. Officers and Councillors have been forced to make savings and have tried to make these in areas which will have the least impact on residents.
“Grass cutting schedules have been modified and some grassland areas will be cut less often than they were in the past to make savings. The grass will be cut less often in locations where short mown grass is not a necessity for recreational use such as highway verges, low use areas within parks and open spaces and rural verges. There will be no change in the way football pitches, bowling greens, play areas and high use amenity areas are managed.
“We have invested in new flail mowers which are more suited to cutting longer grass and mulch the cuttings back into the grass. This will mean that when the grass grows long the new machinery will cut it without difficulty allowing us to to reduce the frequency of cuts and save money.
Pictures show Ridgeway Park at Lymm above.
The well kept parks at Orford and St Elphins