We’ll mow it ourselves then, Bradford on Avon councillors say

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Bradford on Avon councillors were so fed-up with overgrown grass being ignored by a county contractor they turned out to cut it themselves.

Now they have sent Balfour Beatty’s chairman a bill for £250. After growing exasperated with the overgrown grass at Westbury Gardens in the town centre, town councillors Laurie Brown and Magnus Macdonald joined town mayor John Potter for some impromptu gardening.

Theirs is the latest complaint about a lack of cutting by the holder of the Wiltshire Council contract.

The councillors spent four hours on Sunday afternoon cutting the grass, which had grown to over a foot tall in places, and will now be billing Wiltshire Council’s controversial highways contractor for their time.

Coun Potter said: “I came back from holiday on Saturday and there was an event in Westbury Gardens, and the state of the grass was shocking.

“I just thought, this is mad, there is no point writing a letter of complaint, so why don’t we just do it?

“We just thought we would shame them into doing something, so we are going to send a bill for £250 to the chairman of Balfour Beatty., I bet his lawn is cut nicely.”

The firm has attracted extensive criticism over its grass-cutting provision in the west of the county since it took over the £150 million five-year contract in 2012.

The firm recently admitted it had drafted in additional teams from across the county to help clear the backlog in Trowbridge.

Coun Potter said: “It used to be done by English Landscapes and it was fine, but this is absolutely terrible. All the flower beds are completely dead, it looks like a bomb has gone off and everybody died.

“We left a small strip so you can see how long it was, but it was so long we couldn’t just cut it and let the clippings land there, we had to take them away. Normally it would only take an hour.

“I am hoping we will be able to get the council and Balfour Beatty to get a schedule of their mowing and put them up in public places.”

A council spokesman said: "We are continuing to work with our contractors Balfour Beatty Living Places to ensure grass cutting in the west of county returns to schedule and we are close to being back on track.”

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