Towering verges and park areas with grass so tall you could lose a small dog are provoking complaints across the isle.
Residents are questioning when grass will be cut at sites including King George VI Park in Ramsgate, verges running along to A28 at Westgate and Birchington, Birchington Rec and Nethercourt.
Sarah Thomas from Ramsgate branded the state of King George VI Park as “appalling” while Scott Goudie shared a picture of Westgate verges, saying: “Why (would) any tourist would want to visit Thanet in the height of Summer when you run the risk of losing family in the overgrown verges? It’s embarrassing.”
@IsleThanetNews Can someone please ask the council why any tourist would want to visit Thanet in the height of Summer when you run the risk of losing family in the overgrown verges? It’s embarrassing. pic.twitter.com/qn6zTTyG09
— Scott Goudie ???????????????? (@scott_goudie) June 9, 2018
Thanet council says the grass cutting programme was delayed last month due to ‘wet weather.’ The authority is not responsible for roadside verges which come under the remit of Kent County Council
In a statement Thanet council says: “Our grass cutting schedule which runs from March to October was delayed last month but has now restarted.
“Grass cutting is carried out on a rolling programme that takes at least three weeks to complete. This generally works well but when there has been wet or inclement weather, it can result in problems and cause delays. When this occurs we ask that residents bear with us.
“We try to carry on cutting and only miss, or delay, a cut if our machines are actually causing damage to the grass.
“Thanet District Council is not a Highway Authority and is not responsible for the grass cutting on highway verges. This service is provided by Kent County Council. Call 03000 41 41 41 or visit the Kent County Council website.”
KCC say some roadside areas are nature reserves to encourage wildlife and plants. These nature reserves are managed in line with the Kent Wildlife Trust guidelines and may have different cutting programmes.
The KCC website also says: “We look after wildflowers on rural verges. Where possible we allow wildflowers to die back before mowing.”
Some grass cutting is also needed at the ‘Secret Jungle’ in Northdown Park.
The gates at the site have been vandalised. The site, which was intended as somewhere for disabled children to go and picnic, enjoy the gardens and the facilities, had lottery funding but this has now run out with a further application proving unsuccessful.
Volunteers and a paid gardener attempt to clear the site but more help, and funding, is needed.
Village county councillor Emma Dawson said cutting is now underway and will take place in Broadstairs, Ramsgate, Margate, Birchington, Manston, Acol, St Nicholas at Wade.
But she added: “Unfortunately grass cutting has been reduced from 8 to 6 cuts. There will now be 6 cuts from April to end of October. The recent heavy rainfall has saturated the ground and this has delayed the start of the grass cutting period. The first grass cut has been carried out but we are three weeks behind schedule.
“I can understand your annoyance and dissatisfaction regarding this, your patience is appreciated. There are various issues that can arise when cutting long grass, some of the following can cause delays: parked vehicles on verges, road works, large-amounts of litter and vehicles breaking down.
“While maintenance of the grass is carried out with 6 cuts from April – October, it is recognised that residents may like the grass to be cut more frequently. It is okay for residents to cut the grass more often if they wish, providing they carry it out safely.”
Meanwhile work that has taken place in Birchington has shocked some residents who have branded the cutting down of palm trees near Christies in Station Approach as ‘vandalism’.
Ward councillor and Thanet CPRE deputy chair Suzanne Brimm said: “These trees should not have been cut down, I understand the parish council are going to carry out some replanting but not at the cost of these trees. Even the man carrying out the work said there was no need to remove them.”
But county and parish councillor Liz Hurst said: “The palms are being taken out due to the size of the root balls, which will cause damage to the raised beds. These beds are to be replanted shortly. We are going to retain the lavenders.”
Cllr Hurst says the work is part of a plan to a beautify the village.
She added: “It was decided to start making Birchington beautiful again, so, along with the parish council, work has started on planting of a very tatty flower bed near the station.
“It was decided to dig out the weeds, lavenders and existing palms, as it would be difficult to make a lovely difference to the bed, around roots. Unfortunately, when it came to digging them out, they were so large and deep that this became impossible, so work that day had to be abandoned and the roots need grinding out. I was also told, by the workmen that damage has started to be caused to the brickwork.
“We have had a number of suggestion on how to plant this bed, from holly trees to olives. The rules around sight lines have to be observed and trees of course, will put down roots and may cause further issues in the future. Roses have been another contender, due to not needing too much watering. There have been many compliments and some disappointments over this bed.
“Please direct any thoughts on planting onto Birchington Parish Council, who, once the bed is cleared, will be taking it over.”