South Holland District Council insists: ‘We’re not profiting over grass cutting’

Sutton Bridge village green as it looked in May this year.
Sutton Bridge village green as it looked in May this year.
  • County council will act if long grass threatens road safety
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A senior councillor insists South Holland District Council (SHDC) is not profiteering by charging parish councils for mowing roadside grass verges.

Lincolnshire County Council pulled the plug on all but two cuts, saving £750,000 a year, sparking an outcry over eyesore long grass and road safety fears.

SHDC portfolio holder Roger Gambba-Jones said one or two parish councils asked for help so the authority sent written quotes to all parishes on a “take it or leave it” basis.

There’s been a mixed reaction with Sutton Bridge rejecting the quote, Pinchbeck snapping it up as a bargain and complaints at Moulton of people having to “pay twice” for the service.

But Coun Gambba-Jone says there are rules that bar profits being made, explaining: “We cut it at what it costs effectively and that’s all we can do.”

Sutton Bridge Parish Council chairman John Grimwood described the SHDC quote as “a considerable sum,” which the parish hadn’t bargained for in its finances, and hopes more firms will follow the example of Bakkavor Meals who are footing the bill for cutting the village green.

Sutton Bridge farmer Simon Booth, the parish council vice chairman, cut grass on overgrown corners on village roads because he considered them dangerous, views echoed by district councillor Harry Drury about overgrown grass at junctions in Spalding.

A county council spokesman explained that authority is “funding two cuts a year at locations where overgrown grass could cause safety issues” because cash saved will protect other vital areas like the pothole budget.

He said: “If people believe any overgrown grass is posing a safety risk, they should report it via our online system at www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/faultreporting or by calling 01522 782070.

“Our team can then investigate and take action if necessary.”