'˜Nowhere for kids to play'

A move to stop cutting grass in parts of Blackpool will leave children with nowhere to play, residents have warned.

Friday, 13th May 2016, 6:00 am
Residents are complaining about uncut grass on Herons Reach

As revealed by The Gazette on Tuesday, Blackpool Council is no longer going to mow some areas of open space in the town due to budget cuts which have seen 13 staff lost from the parks department.

While areas such as cemeteries, the Promenade and Stanley Park will be prioritised, general amenity open space will be left unmown.

Residents living on Herons Reach in the resort are among those angered by the proposal.

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Damian Ricchiuti said: “The grass hasn’t been cut this year, and I think it is normally cut every two weeks.

“My children like to play here in the summer, and spring and autumn months as well.

“It is a communal area and it would be a great shame if it wasn’t cut on a regular basis.”

Russell Standing, of Plovers Way, said: “All the kids from the area use the grassed area all summer long, keeping fit outside.

“When it is waist high, they aren’t going to be playing. So much for keeping fit and exercise.”

Some residents are also concerned it will lead to more dog fouling.

Karen Coope, of Heron Way, said: “We have an ongoing battle on Herons Reach with dog fouling and having grass this high isn’t going to help.”

Her husband Brian added: “Grange Park is very well manicured so why doesn’t the council have the same resources for Herons Reach?”

The council’s parks and open spaces service has seen its budget slashed by £631,000 over the last three years.

However some areas on council estates like Grange Park will continue to be cut because they are managed by Blackpool Coastal Housing, which as an arms length company has a different budget to the council.

Speaking earlier this week Coun Graham Cain, cabinet secretary at the council, said there was not “enough money or enough staff to do everything we want to do.”

However the situation will be monitored, and alternative options to manage land such as wild flower meadow planting, community gardens and planting of shrubs will be explored.