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Complaints double under new streetscene contract

July 5, 2013 4:37 PM

Following its apology to Salisbury residents for the inept way the new contract was introduced, Wiltshire Council has now admitted that the number of complaints doubled as Balfour Beatty took over the work from English Landscapes on June 1st. However the complaints have now settled down to what the council sees as a normal level. Here's a statement from WC:

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"Senior officers from Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP) attended an update meeting with Phillip Whitehead, portfolio holder for highways and streetscene, and Mark Smith, service director for neighbourhood services, on Monday, 2 July 2013.

At the meeting BBLP confirmed it had fulfilled its commitment to complete the first cut of the urban grassed area by the end of June. It also confirmed the rural verge, amenity flail, low amenity grass and rough cut areas had all been cut to schedule and there had been no delay in these services.

BBLP gave a commitment that if any grassed areas are later identified as having been missed during the scheduled cut it would immediately return to rectify the issue.

The grass cutting frequencies will now return to the contract specification, which for urban grassed areas is one cut every two to three weeks.

Amanda Fisher, Balfour Beatty's managing director, will be attending full council on the 9 July to listen to the formal questions raised by members.

During June 2013 the council received around 110 complaints a week regarding grass cutting. This was 60 complaints more a week than the same time last year. The number of complaints has now returned to normal.

BBLP continues to provide additional resources to support the grass cutting service to ensure there are no further delays and is currently reporting all grass cutting is on schedule for July."

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Your say - Should we let the grass grow anyway?

"I am writing you as a representative of Climate Friendly Bradford-on-Avon Biodiversity group. We were thrilled to see roadside verges with wildflowers, food for our declining bees and butterflies, but devastated when they were cut. It very much seems as though there could be a sympathetic compromise here, caring for wildlife as long as it does not impinge on the safety of road users. We would very much hope that you are in agreement and that such a proposal be made to Wiltshire Council regarding their instructions to Balfour Beatty who I believe are the current contractors.

One of the group's aims is to help provide wildlife corridors so that wildlife can move from one part of county to another. I know that this is part of a brief for Wiltshire Council and as verges are a complete network this could be done county wide creating a good feel factor in those enjoying the wildflowers and helping wildlife move around."

L S, Bradford on Avon