Public spaces in west Norfolk branded ‘overgrown jungle’ as council reduces grass cutting

The over grown grass area on London Road in Downham Market. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The over grown grass area on London Road in Downham Market. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Many residents have complained about the state of green spaces across the borough since West Norfolk Council reduced its grass cutting services to reduce costs.

The over grown grass area on London Road in Downham Market. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The over grown grass area on London Road in Downham Market. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Public spaces across west Norfolk have been branded 'an overgrown jungle' since a council reduced its grass cutting services to make savings.

Many residents have complained about the state of green spaces across the borough that are overgrown with grass and weeds, particularly in and around Downham Market.

Colin Bulley, of Elm Close, in Downham Market, said: 'It has become an overgrown jungle; much of the grass has been left to grow wild.

'I'm a proud resident of our town and I've never seen anything like it before – the place looks a complete mess.'

The over grown grass area on London Road in Downham Market. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The over grown grass area on London Road in Downham Market. Picture: Matthew Usher.


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He added: 'As a council tax-payer I'm appalled at this service, and I know many others who are also very angry.'

The issue was raised at the last Downham Market Town Council meeting. Marion Ross, the mayor, told councillors she was liaising with staff at West Norfolk Council and Norfolk County Council to resolve the matter.

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While the town's public spaces affected include greens the Clackclose Estate and along London Road, opposite the police station, residents have also taken to social media to highlight overgrown areas.

A spokesman for West Norfolk Council explained areas previously cut 18 times a year, may now only be dealt with 12 or six times a year 'based on need'.

The over grown grass area on London Road in Downham Market. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The over grown grass area on London Road in Downham Market. Picture: Matthew Usher.

He said: 'We have revised the amount of times per year that we cut the grass for which we are responsible. We've been forced to do this by the need to reduce costs.'

The council's department responsible for the upkeep of open public spaces is also exploring a more effective grass cutting pattern – but requests for any extra work will need to be funded by parish or town councils.

David Pope, the former portfolio holder responsible for green spaces at West Norfolk Council, said: 'I completely agree that the standard of grass cutting has gone down. I've also had many complaints from my ward of Upwell. But the reality is that there is a cost cutting exercise underway at the council and this is one of the services affected.'

Elizabeth Nockolds, currently responsible for the portfolio, added: 'We want areas to look good but we also have to work with a budget.'

Norfolk County Council's website says it is responsible for cutting grass verges in urban areas five times between May and September. It has recently changed its policy for rural areas and does not always cut the full length of rural verges.

Do you have a west Norfolk story? Email louise.hepburn@archant.co.uk

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