'˜What a dreadful welcome for visitors'

Residents in the Louth area have voiced their concerns over the state of the grass in town - but the county council says it is due to carry out '˜safety cutting' within days.

Alex Humberstone (8) mows the grass.
Alex Humberstone (8) mows the grass.

As part of ongoing budget cuts, Lincolnshire County Council no longer carries out ‘amenity’ grass cutting across the county (saving £600,000 per year), and it has reduced the number of ‘safety cuttings’ from three down to two cuts per summer, saving a further £250,000 per year.

Over the last few weeks, Louth residents have taken to social media to raise concerns about the untidy - and in some cases, what they call potentially ‘dangerous’ - state of the grass in the town.

On ‘Move Louth Forward’, Clare Manning said she thought the situation was ‘disgraceful and dangerous’.

She added: “I can’t believe how bad Horncastle Road is in town. What a dreadful welcome for visitors.”

Other residents added that Grimsby Road and Kenwick Hill, in particular, had become potentially hazardous areas.

However, a county council spokesman has since told the Leader that the first of this year’s two ‘safety cuttings’ will take place in the main parts of Louth within a matter of days.

The spokesman continued: “The council can no longer afford to do everything it’s done in the past.

“As a result, we will now only be funding two cuts a year at locations where overgrown grass could cause safety issues. In addition, we’ll be carrying out weed control once a year.

“We believe this new approach strikes the right balance; it keeps our roads safe, while ensuring the service remains affordable.

“In some areas, the work will be taken on by the district or parish council, who may also carry out additional cuts at their own expense.”

In January, Louth Town Council (LTC) voted against increasing its precept for 2017/18 in order to take on additional ‘amenity’ grass cutting, which would have cost around £20,000 and would have led to a council tax rise for local ratepayers.

Town councillor Andrew Leonard, who was staunchly against raising taxes to fund additional grass cutting, said: “It would seem inevitable that (in future years), LTC will have to consider the option of taking on this contracted out service.

“Other parishes have caved in and asked their ratepayers for more money.”

Coun Leonard added that the ‘scruffy and neglected’ state of the grass could affect the tourism pull of the town.

Meanwhile, on Facebook, a photo of eight-year-old Alex Humberstone (above) cutting the grass outside his home in Manby has gone viral.

The Grimoldby Primary School pupil was praised for his efforts, and over 240 people ‘liked’ the photograph.