Balfour Beatty boss says sorry for failing to cut grass on time

Wiltshire Times: Mayor John Potter and councillors Laurie Brown and Magnus Macdonald at work Mayor John Potter and councillors Laurie Brown and Magnus Macdonald at work

Balfour Beatty Living Places has apologised to Bradford on Avon Town Council for not cutting grass in the town – but will not be paying the £250 bill sent to them by councillors who got their own mowers out to tackle the problem.

Mayor John Potter and councillors Laurie Brown and Magnus Macdonald spent four hours cutting the grass in Westbury Gardens, which had grown to over a foot tall in places, two weeks ago. The town council then sent the contractors a £250 bill.

Tom Harvey, client and community communications manager at at Balfour Beatty, told councillors at the full council meeting on Tuesday: “We apologise to the grass cutting councillors and all councillors and residents for our failure to deal with grass cutting in Westbury Gardens.

“We have taken a number of steps to ensure it won’t happen again. We are completely committed to being on top of these robust plans.”

He said these included “more men, more machines and closer supervision”.

Balfour Beatty will not pay the bill direct, but Mr Harvey promised the firm would ‘support’ the council’s First World War Commemoration event in Westbury Gardens on August 3.

Councillors were grateful for the apology but said they were worried the issue would arise again – and they had a suggestion to help reduce problems in the future.

Cllr Ian Thorn, who tried for several weeks to contact Balfour Beatty about overgrown grass at Poulton Recreation Ground, said: “The grass doesn’t stop growing. It needs to be kept cut.

“We are delighted and relieved that it has been cut but I am not confident or convinced that the grass will continue to be cut.”

Cllr Laurie Brown suggested Balfour Beatty publish a list of where and when the grass will be cut, saying: “If members of the public can see who is responsible and a number they can ring, it might stop all the bureaucracy that is going on.

“Balfour Beatty and Wiltshire Council should be able to let the public know.”

Questions about grass-cutting or any other highways matters can be sent to local highways@wiltshire.gov.uk or call 0300 456 0105.

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