Fir Tree residents want grass cut - council calls it a wildflower meadow

The Northern Echo: Residents in the unmown area which Durham County Council have called a wildflower meadow Residents in the unmown area which Durham County Council have called a wildflower meadow

FRUSTRATED villagers are calling for an overgrown park to be cut back so children can play there – but a council has designated it a wildflower meadow.

Residents in Fir Tree said Pea Hill Park has been neglected by Durham County Council with large patches of long grasses and flowers being left to grow.

The council has mown parts of the park, which was opened in 2011 by botanist David Bellamy, and said the uncut areas are a wildflower meadow.

Stephanie Foster, whose two children play at the park, said: “There is an area at the bottom of the park designated for wildflowers which we are fine with.

“But there are areas in the middle which are where children like to play, and they simply cannot go there because the grass has been left to grow.

“The village wants a place for our children to play, not the mess that we have got.”

Mrs Foster said dog owners are unable to clean up after their pets in the long grasses with the left faeces making the area a hazard for children.

More than 20 residents of all ages met The Northern Echo to express their frustration with the park’s current state.

One neighbouring landowner said seeds from the unwanted flowers have blown into his field with the pollen polluting his grasses.

He said: “I will have to spend a lot of money to clear that field of these unwanted plants.

“It is a mess, and it does feel that Fir Tree is a forgotten village.”

Pea Hill Park was built on top of a former pit heap and underwent a £110,000 makeover two years ago to make it a pleasant place for villagers.

Jeff Talbot, clean and green manager at the council, said: “This area of Fir Tree is beautiful, being surrounded by trees and woodland and is home to one of the best wildflower areas we have in County Durham.

“We need these natural meadows and have an obligation to preserve them.

“We already cut around the paths and clear a section at the bottom for the children to play.

“Following a meeting with one of the residents last week, we have agreed to a compromise and will now also cut an area at the top of the bank for children to play.”

Comments (2)

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8:07am Tue 2 Jul 13

Ally F says...

It not the grass getting cut, it's the County Council's budget. It's an easy cop-out to declare them 'wildflower meadow' and save the annual cost of maintenance. The Highways Agency is doing exactly the same thing - have you noticed how overgrown the highway grass verges are this year? (Some overgrown to the point of creating blind bends, limited visibility at roundabouts & junctions and other hazards.)

Here's an idea, just use class action: Issue the County Council 'Clean and Green Manager' Jeff Talbot' (who comes up with these roles?) a letter signed by all concerned residents (the more the better) asking for the park to be cut by a certain date. Cite your reasons for wanting it done - loss of a former safe amenity area for children, dog fouling, public health, etc. Request DCC's written response to your local Councillor within 10 working days. If you don't get a reply organise your own 'mowing morning' and do it yourself or tap up the sympathetic neighbouring land-owner to bring his tractor mower in.

Not wanting to accuse the Local Authorities of rank hypocrisy, but when a housing developer comes up with sufficient financial leverage, these 'wildflower meadows' within parish boundaries soon get built on with the Council then citing their 'obligation to provide sociable and affordable housing stock' as a convenient excuse…
It not the grass getting cut, it's the County Council's budget. It's an easy cop-out to declare them 'wildflower meadow' and save the annual cost of maintenance. The Highways Agency is doing exactly the same thing - have you noticed how overgrown the highway grass verges are this year? (Some overgrown to the point of creating blind bends, limited visibility at roundabouts & junctions and other hazards.) Here's an idea, just use class action: Issue the County Council 'Clean and Green Manager' Jeff Talbot' (who comes up with these roles?) a letter signed by all concerned residents (the more the better) asking for the park to be cut by a certain date. Cite your reasons for wanting it done - loss of a former safe amenity area for children, dog fouling, public health, etc. Request DCC's written response to your local Councillor within 10 working days. If you don't get a reply organise your own 'mowing morning' and do it yourself or tap up the sympathetic neighbouring land-owner to bring his tractor mower in. Not wanting to accuse the Local Authorities of rank hypocrisy, but when a housing developer comes up with sufficient financial leverage, these 'wildflower meadows' within parish boundaries soon get built on with the Council then citing their 'obligation to provide sociable and affordable housing stock' as a convenient excuse… Ally F

5:32pm Tue 2 Jul 13

sleeping dragon says...

dont take dogs to do what comes natural where children play
dont take dogs to do what comes natural where children play sleeping dragon

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