Council not paying contractors for bodged weed spray treatment in Thetford

Jane Varanand and her team of volunteers weed the pathways in Thetford town centre.Picture by: Sony

Jane Varanand and her team of volunteers weed the pathways in Thetford town centre.Picture by: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Norfolk County Council has withheld payment from a contractor after a bodged attempt to rid a high street of weeds which forced volunteers to step in.

Jane Varanand and her team of volunteers weed the pathways in Thetford town centre. Colin Armes lan

Jane Varanand and her team of volunteers weed the pathways in Thetford town centre. Colin Armes lands a hand.Picture by: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Contractors Lafarge had to return to Thetford earlier this month after a first treatment on weeds in mid-September failed.

That resulted in a team of residents taking matters into their own hands by pulling out weeds and cleaning up silt themselves.

And at a county council meeting on Thursday, Toby Coke, chairman of the environment, development and transport committee, said the council would not be paying for the first treatment.

In response to a question from Thetford county councillor, Terry Jermy, Mr Coke apologised for the volunteers having to intervene and said the situation was being investigated.


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He added that a meeting with the contractors and volunteers was being looked into.

Mr Jermy said he was 'very pleased' that the council had responded to the situation.

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'It's good they recognise that residents went above and beyond.

'But I am disappointed that the county council is not monitoring its contracts robustly and I will be pressing them to make sure they do that properly,' he said.

Jane Varanand, one of the volunteers, said the cleanliness of the town was a concern.

'If I was a tourist that had been to our garden at the Royal Hampton Court Flower Show, and heard all these great things about Thetford, I'd be disappointed when the first thing I saw here was weeds.

'It suggests a town that's unloved which isn't the case at all.

'We are paying taxes for this work to be done and it should be carried out correctly,' she said.

Ms Varanand added that the volunteers would continue working in the town, with the collection of silt an 'ongoing job'.

A manager for Serco, who look after street cleaning, has written to the Times expressing his regret for the cleanliness of the street.

Craig Hall, contract manager, agreed to meet with volunteers to discuss the issue.

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