Army of 80-year-olds in Skegness cutting grass after council budget cuts

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Residents in their eighties on a Skegness crescent are so appalled by the state of grassed areas and verges in the town they have started to cut them themselves.

Neighbours from Precint Crescent stormed last week’s Skegness Town Council Annual Meeting to ask councillors why they have stopped cutting the grass – and were not impressed with the answers.

A decision to hand the responsibily for ‘ornamental’ cuts back to Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) was voted for to save money on the 2024/25 Budget by Skegness Urban District Society majority councillors.

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As reported this has already divided the council, with gloves coming out in November to overturn the decision in a special motion by Conservative, Labour and Independent councillors. They claimed it would only cost the ratepayers 1p a week to carry on cutting and appealed to SUDS for a u-turn as this is a holiday resort and it was important the town looked good.

Residents in their eighties who are cuttng grass, supported by Coun Steve O'Dare (second right).Residents in their eighties who are cuttng grass, supported by Coun Steve O'Dare (second right).
Residents in their eighties who are cuttng grass, supported by Coun Steve O'Dare (second right).

The grass was short at the time the Budget was being duscussed following the 12 ‘ornamental’ cuts by the town council and the three safety cuts by LCC and without public pressure the motion failed.

However, recent rain and mild weather has caused rapid growth, leaving the town looking ‘untidy’ for the Bank Holiday and it is believed there are still two or three weeks to go before LCC’s first safety cuts.

Steve Hinsley is one of the residents who has taken the matter into his own hands and who attended the Town Meeting to demand answers.

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"We think it is really unacceptable the council has stopped cutting the grass – it’s just a plain wong decision,” said Mr Hinsley.

Residents in Precinct Crescent, Skegness, are so angry the grass isn't being cut they are doing it themselves.Residents in Precinct Crescent, Skegness, are so angry the grass isn't being cut they are doing it themselves.
Residents in Precinct Crescent, Skegness, are so angry the grass isn't being cut they are doing it themselves.

"I’ve lived on this precinct for 30 years and always this grass has been cut by the council and suddenly they have just stopped it.

"We kniw have to look after it ourselves or let it grow and look like a midden when you turn the corner.

"It really looks bad for the street and runs it down.

"We have two residnets in the street in their eighties who are out at the weekend with their mowers and it’s just not acceptable.

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Only three safety cuts a year are currently being done by Lincolnshire County Council.Only three safety cuts a year are currently being done by Lincolnshire County Council.
Only three safety cuts a year are currently being done by Lincolnshire County Council.

"We pay our rates and we should be able to get the grass cut.”

Coun Steve O’Dare is one of the councillors who is supporting the residents.

“Having to come out and cut it themselves is completely wrong,” said Coun O’ODare. “There is no real need for it to happen.

"It us a concern visitors will come here and see the unkept town and it is not a good look.

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"Residents too don’t want to walk around a town that is looking unloved.

"Something has to be done before the next budget – we can’t leave the situation like this.”

Skegness Town Clerk Steve Larner, explained the situation. He said: “During consideration of the budget last year Skegness Town Council (STC) decided to stop cutting verges and focus on its own land to save money.

"LCC, the owner of the grass verges, only cuts them for health and safety purposes, three times a year, compared to the previous 12 plus ornamental cuts undertaken by Skegness Town Coubcil.

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"There were several Councillors attending the meeting and the concerns were heard and will no doubt be discussed at the Council meeting on May 15.”

Lincolnshire World spoke to LCC about the concerns and was told there may be scope for some options after all. A spokesperson said: “There are no changes to the current position of our planned three cuts a year. That schedule has not changed

and has remained the same as we made very clear when in discussions with STC during the winter, prior to its decision to stop its own additional cuts.

“We are looking at our grass cutting price-per-metre rate that we offer to all Parish and Town Councils, and we are looking to re-establish

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rates this summer - so there is scope for some options coming up.

“LCC will be doing this consistently for all third parties that cut grass on our behalf.”

Residents are calling on the community to attend the next Skegness Town Council meeting on May 15 at 7pm to press for action.