A Cumbernauld resident has launched a new website campaigning against reductions in grass cutting services by North Lanarkshire Council.
The local authority’s budget decision to cut back on landscaping services has been criticised by residents, and now Robert Pender of Whitelees has created a new website, whitelees.org.uk.
Mr Pender said: “At the moment, the prime purpose of the site is to resolve the situation caused by North Lanarkshire Council’s decision to cut costs rather than grass.
“You may have noticed that there are areas of common ground in the Whitelees Road area where the grass is not being cut.
“Despite the fact that the council has maintained these areas for the 30 or so years since the estate was built, they quietly announced that they would no longer do so, because the ground is apparently not theirs.
“We firmly believe that NLC should still maintain these areas, but there is an urgent need to get something done about it now.”
The site also highlights an issue where long grass on the central reservation at Forest Road was causing road safety issues by limiting driver visibility, but only a small section of grass was cut while other grass was untouched and is now over two feet high.
Robert and a group of neighbours are jointly paying for professional landscaping services, at least in the short-term, following a failed attempt at cutting the grass themselves which resulted in numerous bites from midges and other insects living in the grass.
The group hopes more people will sign up through Mr Pender’s website to contribute to this funding and help lower the individual costs.
Independent councillor Paddy Hogg (Cumbernauld East) commented: “These cutbacks in council grass cutting budgets are leaving some areas to become wildly overgrown.
“Robert has taken the time to set up a website about this issue and is supported by a large amount of his neighbours angered at the council leaving such a large elongated area of grass uncut near to the downhill slope from Whitelees Primary towards Robert’s house on the right coming down the hill.
“Then there is the issue as well of the overgrown grass in the middle land of Forest Road as you leave Whitelees Road and head up towards the recycling centre near the A80.”
Councillor Hogg intends to submit a motion at the next full council meeting to reinstate grass cutting services.
Councillor Jim Logue, the leader of North Lanarkshire Council, commented: “With £300m of cuts to North Lanarkshire’s budget since 2007, there are many things that the council has traditionally done which are no longer possible. Cutting grassed areas which are exclusively in private ownership is now one of them.
“I fully understand residents’ frustrations at this, however blame must solely lie at the feet of the SNP government in Edinburgh who have continuously passed on catastrophic cuts to our council for the last 14 years.
“I have said for years that cuts to councils are cuts to communities and regrettably residents are now starting to see exactly what that means for them in their own communities.”
By local democracy reporter Neil McGrory