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Residents to cut their own lawns after council ‘ruin’ grass
FRUSTRATED council tenants have been mowing the communal lawns for their homes after a dispute about the quality of the job done by the council.
Residents in six houses converted into flats, in Pinehurst Road, say the lawns are ruined once a month in summer by a workman on a ride-on lawnmower. They say some areas are scoured down to the mud because the ground is not perfectly flat, while clumps are not cut and the edges are not strimmed.
The residents also complain about piles of grass left on the paths and pavements, while rubbish dropped on the front garden in mown in, resulting in a lawn covered in bits of chopped up plastic or cans.
Now some of the residents have chipped in to buy a £65 communal mower from B&Q and have informed the council they will do it themselves, so they no longer require any more visits from contractor Swindon Commercial Services.
The residents decided enough was enough when they told a workman to go away and not to mow the back garden after they say he churned up the front.
Vieve Forward, who has lived there for five years, said: “They ruined it. Every time they mowed it they absolutely ruined it.
“They churned it up. Bits of it were scraped down to the mud. They left huge piles of grass everywhere and they missed bits. They didn’t strim any of the edges. We just want it to look really nice.”
The mower is being kept temporarily in a cupboard in the flat of Pete Northcott, 69, who has volunteered to cut the lawns, but the residents hope the council will provide them with a shed.
Pete, a retired factory worker, said he had mowed the back lawn occasionally since he moved in about six years ago and the comparison with the front lawn was stark, but he believed he could do both lawns with the new mower.
“I’ve just finished the back and it looks 50 times better than what it does when the grass cutters were doing it,” he said. “It’s unbelievable, you wouldn’t believe how nice it looks.
“We’re going to do the front. I don’t want them to come and do the front anymore. We can do a better job and we take pride in doing our job and we can make it look respectable.”
A Swindon Council spokesman said he was sorry the residents were disappointed, however the ability to cut the grass to a reasonable standard had been badly affected by the persistent rain since the end of March.
He said the council would be happy for tenants to take over responsibility for cutting grass and would be prepared to provide a shed together with its a base to store the equipment.
However, he warned that the council would not have staffing available for servicing, maintenance, equipment instruction or health and safety of the people using the equipment. The annual ongoing costs were likely to be more expensive that the cost of providing the current service
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