GRASS CUTTING CAUSING FURY

Alderman Stephen Moutray and Councillor Carla Lockhart, up to their knees in the long grass at Gilford Road. INLM2212-112gc
Alderman Stephen Moutray and Councillor Carla Lockhart, up to their knees in the long grass at Gilford Road. INLM2212-112gc
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PARTS of the town are starting to look a little rough around the edges following a council decision to stop maintaining land it does not own.

A decision was taken by Craigavon Borough Council in January to cease maintaining all non-council owned lands throughout the borough.

It’s already become a bone of contention in Waringstown where one resident said she had already been on with the DoE about the matter.

She was told a process was currently underway to appoint a contractor to do the cutting.

Given the spell of good weather and the growth in grass some elected representatives have been inundated with complaints about the lands in question.

DUP Alderman Stephen Moutray MLA said: “On the night this decision was taken the DUP, the only party might I add, disagreed with the recommendation to cease maintaining non-council owned lands and said that council should continue to maintain them.

“We voted against the recommendation, however we were defeated with every other political party voting to cut this vital front line service.

“In recent days our elected representatives have been inundated with complaints and requests for grass cutting given the appalling state of the area, particularly from Waringstown, Donaghcloney and Gilford Road area of town.

“As a result of the public outcry our DUP group have submitted a Rescinding Motion asking Council to revoke the decision to cease maintenance of non-Council owned lands throughout the Borough, and with immediate effect assume the role of maintaining these lands.

“This motion will be discussed at the monthly meeting (Wednesday, June 6) and we will be calling on the elected representatives from all parties to consider the errors of their way and to follow the DUP’s lead on this matter.

“Cutting this service was ludicrous and we believe it is time that all parties have the opportunity to do what is right by the ratepayer and reinstate this provision immediately.”

“We as elected representatives are endeavouring to attract investment and business into Craigavon. Certainly it would be the DUP’s view that the decision which was taken which has allowed our Borough to become overgrown and unsightly and it needs revoked so that our ratepayers can return to living in a tidy, clean and inviting Borough.”

SDLP Councillor Joe Nelson said: “The Council took the decision to save rate payers money by handing back responsibility to DRD and NIHE for grasscutting on lands belonging to them.

“This obviously saved the council approximately £75,000 which was in turn passed on to the ratepayer.

“The other agencies, who now have this responsibility, do not cut the grass at the same frequency or standard as the council had been doing.

“Councillors like myself have been inundated with complaints about the state of areas maintained previously by the council but these are now the responsibility of either the DRD or NIHE.

“Council must now work with these agencies to ensure that these areas are maintained to an acceptable standard,” said Councillor Nelson.