An angry Sheffield resident is appalled by the state of grass verges near his home, branding the maintenance unacceptable and an eyesore.
Lee Rivers, 57, of Gervase Road, has lived on the Lowedges estate for over 25 years, but now says that Greenhill Parkway near his home is an 'eyesore' due to the overgrown public grassed verges.
And despite complaining to Sheffield Council contractor Amey last month, the area still remains unruly with no specific date of when the grass will be cut.
Lee said: "It's sky high! It's an absolute mess and an eyesore, there are weeds and just grass everywhere."
He says that in previous years the verges had been 'maintained beautifully', and that the problem has never been this bad.
Amey have been tasked to maintain the city's grass verges as part of the 25-year maintenance contract Streets Ahead, but say that due to budget cuts within the council, a reduction in grass cutting is in place on some main routes and rural verges.
In an email response to Lee's complaint, it is said that a number of areas of grass banking along Greenhill Parkway have been included in the reduced grass cutting regime, and due to this will receive an annual cut before the end of the grass cutting season.
The response said: "With regard to the grass cutting on Greenhill Parkway, the Council has suffered huge budget cuts over the last five years which means that careful consideration is given to the use of available resources.
"Unfortunately as austerity continues and the demand for essential council services increases, the Council is having to look at all of its contracts and services to find essential savings. The Council has worked closely with Amey to find savings through the Streets Ahead contract and to ensure they have minimal impact on the people of Sheffield.
"In August 2017, as part of a review of the Council’s ground maintenance service, vital cost-saving changes were introduced and a Cabinet Report was approved resulting in annual savings for the next twenty years of the Streets Ahead programme.
"Unfortunately, it has taken some time in finalising the changes to this cost-saving exercise and this led to a delay with the verges on Greenhill Parkway being cut. There are a number of areas of grass verge on Greenhill Parkway that are included in the reduced grass cutting regime and as such they will receive an annual cut before the end of the grass cutting season. These areas are not in front of any residential properties.
"The remainder of the verges on Greenhill Parkway are included in the regular grass cutting programme. A grass cutting team have been working on Greenhill Parkway on 6 July 2018, and we will endeavour to maintain the verges to the required standard."
Despite the cost-cutting measures, Amey are still under obligation to cut long grass on junctions, which can cause a hazard for motorists by obstructing their view.
However, Lee says that this is not cost effective, and has reached out to MP Louise Haigh for help on the matter.
He added: "They are firing the machines up, bringing them all the way over to Lowedges and just cutting strips of grass. It would use just a bit more in petrol to do the whole grass area. Where is the cost cutting in that?
"It looks daft and totally mismanaged. The state of this grass is not acceptable."
Cabinet member for Environment and Street Scene at Sheffield City Council, Councillor Lewis Dagnall said: “As part of a review of the Council’s ground maintenance service, vital cost-saving changes were introduced and a Cabinet Report was approved resulting in an £800k annual saving for the next twenty years of the Streets Ahead programme.
"Whilst this means that a reduction in grass cutting will be seen on some main routes and rural verges predominately, the grass cutting changes have been selected to minimise impact on Sheffield residents.
“The changes will also see a greater variety of wildlife and plants in the verges, contributing towards promoting biodiversity."
Any grass growth, which is compromising visibility on the roads, should be reported to Streets Ahead on 0114 2734567.