Frustration is growing over the ‘disgusting state’ of grassy areas

Tom Murray highlights the continuing problem with grass being cut on the Howard Estate at different times by Havebury and St Edmundsbury so it's at different lengths throughout the estate.
Tom Murray highlights the continuing problem with grass being cut on the Howard Estate at different times by Havebury and St Edmundsbury so it's at different lengths throughout the estate.
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Residents are growing increasingly frustrated by the untidy appearance of grass on their Bury St Edmunds estate.

Grass cutting schedules have been a problem on the Howard Estate for around 10 years, since Havebury Housing Partnership took over responsibility for some areas.

Those Havebury did not adopt have remained the responsibility of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, which also has the contract to cut grass in the borough owned by Suffolk County Council.

The problem is that both organisations have different contractors working to different schedules, resulting in grass of varying lengths being visible throughout the estate.

Resident Tom Murray labelled some areas ‘a disgusting state’, with the grass so high that litter and dog foul was being left in it. In Oakes Road, he said, the length of grass varied from 6.5 inches to more than 12 inches.

He said: “We’re getting concerned because people are leaving rubbish in it and not picking up their dog mess and God knows what it’s going to look like when they do cut it.”

Ernie Broom, chairman of the Howard Estate Association of Residents and Tenants (Heart), said he did not understand why both organisations could not share the cost of hiring one contractor to cut the whole estate.

Paul Hopfensperger, borough councillor for the St Olaves ward, said:It’s bureaucracy gone mad. We’ve got one piece of land sitting there that’s six inches to a foot tall in grass and the other side neatly trimmed. The people of the St Oalves ward are rightly frustrated and I think we need to bang heads together to sort this out so there’s one consistent level of grass throughout the estate.”

In April, Havebury appointed a new grounds maintenance contractor, following a tendering process for which the borough council made an unsuccessful bid.

Mr Murray said: “We know it’s a new contractor but it’s not rocket science. We don’t expect lawns and bowling greens, we just expect neat and tidy.”

Philip Sullivan, director of operations at Havebury, said: “It is important to Havebury that our open spaces are attractive and that residents can be proud of where they live.

“Working with our new contractor, Ground Control, we’re committed to ensuring the performance of the contract and standards of service are excellent.

“The need for some improvements has been identified and we’re working closely with Ground Control to ensure that appropriate action is taken.

“Where ownership of open spaces is split between Havebury and the borough council, we are both committed to exploring opportunities on how local coordination can be improved.”

A council spokeswoman said: “Although our bid was not accepted, it does not prevent us from working as closely as we can to coordinate grass cutting and we look forward to establishing good communications with Havebury’s contractors to allow this to happen.”

Mr Hopfensperger said: “It’s not good enough. They need to sit down together and work out a plan. I always say if you fail to plan, you plan to fail and they’re not planning this correctly. Both contracts need to be up for grabs together and one contractor given the job.”