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Debate on grass cutting told overgrown hedge problems ‘like trying to walk down a tunnel’

Wrexham Council have said the number of complaints it received about long grass in the county had declined in recent weeks as its environment team gradually reaches affected areas.

However, issues have now been flagged up by councillors over a lack of hedge cutting after one footpath in Gwersyllt was compared to a tunnel.

Members of the homes and environment scrutiny committee voiced their concern after they were told by officers that hedges in Wrexham are only cut once a year during the winter to avoid disrupting nesting birds.

Speaking at a meeting yesterday, Gwersyllt north councillor Barrie Warburton said: “The problem I’m having is that they’ve cut the grass on the footpath and you can get down it, but what we’ve got now is the length of the hedgerow at the top and who’s going to cut that?

“The problem we’ve got is at head height where the growth is and they’re not trimming that. It’s to the point where it’s like you’re trying to walk down a tunnel.”

Cllr John Phillips also queried if the enviroment department had a policy not to cut hedges over five foot in height.

Council officer Martin Howorth said: “If it’s too high we have to get housing to pay for contractors to cut it down.

“In terms of cutting the hedges, yes we usually cut once during the winter period. We do some work if required in summer, but have to be mindful of bird nesting season.”

In a recent report, Wrexham Council admitted it had been inundated with grass cutting complaints after budget cuts saw the number of grass cuttings it carries out reduced in recent years.

It led to committee members tabling an urgent debate to take place because of the high volume of concerns received from residents.

However, Mr Howorth said that most areas had now been cut, with only some mowing in rural areas and on roadsides left to carry out.
He said: “We’re progressing well now, it’s fortunate or unfortunate depending on your view that we’ve had a lot of hot weather, so growth has slowed right down.

“We will start doing the remainder of A and B roads during this month, they only get cut once because of expense. They’re only done for safety purposes and not because of aesthetics.

“We’ve still got some areas in Minera and Bwlchgwyn area to do, as well as in the Ceiriog Valley.”

By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter (more here on the LDR scheme).

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