Thanet council says grass cutting was delayed amid complaints of ‘appalling’ state of the isle

The 'Secret Jungle' at Northdown Park Photo Jenny Matterface

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.”

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.

King George VI Park Photo Sarah Thomas

“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.

Photo Jenny Matterface

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.”


  1. The grass is being grown for a special tribal ceremony. It is for a tribe of 3ft pigmies who run around and jump up and down shouting ….Where the F*** are we.

  2. Not only the parks but my husband I went to the Margate crematorium and was shocked to see the state it is in.This made us feel sad the people we saw also commented on the state of it,we had to weed and cut the grass ourselves.

  3. What a load of crap. It’s funny how TDC can come up with so many reasons why they don’t do their job. Last month to much rain! Well that’s funny the school I work in got it’s grass cut every 2 weeks. Then all of a sudden it stopped. So I think it’s a case of financial cuts. Well if they don’t pull their finger out soon the cuts will be in the tourists. Not only that TDC whilst we are going on about what you don’t do. Our bin service you say it has nothing to do with you, yet you take our money for it. So bin lids that are broken by bin men would you also like to replace them. So come on TDC chop chop

  4. I gO to see that’s to tend tO my sIsters garden last week they cut the grass outside her flat while the grass was wet they never do the edges and leave huge piles of grass the seeds of this then set all over thE place on the paths on. Peoples flower beds which then start grOwing causing more weEdIng problems. Very unprofessional

  5. There is better things to spend money on than grass cutting. With a bit of luck all the miserable, moody people in thanet will get lost in the long grass never to be seen again. Insted of moaning all the time how about putting the time in to the community and make it a better place for all

  6. I think this subject needs much more discussion. Are we missing the opportunity to creat verge side nature reserves and wildlife meadows attract tourists to see our wildlife and at the same time reduce costs by cutting such areas just once or twice a year and thereby being able to concentrate on those smaller number of places where the grass truly needs to be short. We can cut pathways through the larger sites but surely we don’t need to obliterate the chance for butterflies, grasshoppers and orchids?

    • Brian is right. Not every bit of grass needs to be short. There are plenty of native grasses which look lovely when flowering and attract a variety of insects.

  7. The walk between Monkton and Minster is terrible – I don’t know how anyone with a pushchair manages – it’s bad enough walking my dog!

  8. For goodness’ sake people, the grass on everybody’s lawn was in the same state due to the rain including my own. Stop moaning, this is due to the weather that we all talk about so much; give TDC some slack for once and think about how much grass they’ve got to cut with so few people to do it thanks to budget cuts. Sorry for the pun hah!!

  9. Not just thanet seem to be a kent wide issue. I had to complain ro maidstone council to do verges in the housing estate where I live. Got the excuse of rain in may. Errr apart from a few nights of heaby rain may was 90 % dry. It was soo long the grass was flowering & would tower over a toddler !! Funny how mentioning not paying my council tax got the job done in 48 hrs !

  10. But those naughty rats vandalising gates needs to be dealt with, surely? Perhaps that cheery waving cat could help.

  11. grow up everybody, grass is a natural habitat for wildlife. It is not disgusting, any right thinking person should rejoice in it. What is WRONG with you all, do you not rejoice in the birds and the bees? Without these areas of unmown verges and parkland, we would not have the bees, without bees, we would not eat.

    • The issue with the Secret Jungle is it is meant to be a play area for children with disabilities and special needs. As it is at the moment (and hats off to the gardeners who do their best) children with mobility issues or in wheelchairs cannot get to the play facilities due to the long grass. Long grass can also hide ticks that spread some unpleasant diseases, too. There are some lovely pieces of equipment but they are hardly accessible. The refuse bins used to be talking ones so children loved putting their rubbish in them but they have been vandalised. Such a shame as lottery funding stopped and no,other money seems to be available. I

  12. The verges on residential streets could be cut by the residents and if the people all did their own bit it wouldn’t take long. If your neighbour is unable to do theirs perhaps it would be a kindness to help out. While they are out there a quick spray of the weeds springing up at the base of their walls would be wonderful!!

    • But not everyone would want the same thing for their street. And environmentally, it would be better to use a knife or small trowel to lift unwanted plants, rather than chemical sprays.

  13. Re: residents cutting verges. Not all residents would want the same thing. And environmentally, it would be better to remove unwanted plants by hand rather than use a chemical spray.

  14. A knife or fork would be better than chemical sprays for removing weeds. I think the idea of every resident doing their “own bit” would only work if the entire street was in agreement.

  15. The root balls on palm trees that size are small so would not affect the plants in the video above. That was a disgraceful thing for KCC to cut them down. We need more trees not less.

  16. Come on people TDC have got a lot of you thinking there way my father was in charge of parks department for 20+years and the weather never stopped his team from keeping the grass cut in parks schools and verge’s and the equipment is far better to day

    • As per usual things were better left as they were in the days before the so-called representatives of the people decided to go completely off beam, to try and shift the responsibility of payment for such things elsewhere because their own budgets were up the wall.

  17. So, our council tax is increased by 6% but our services such as grass verge cutting are reduced by 25%. Is this what they call creative accountancy? just remind me, who runs our councils, it wouldn’t be the tories by any chance.
    Look back in time and you’ll see this happen, they have total disregard for public services while pandering to business and corporate money. Think next time you fall for their spin.

    • I did wonder how TDC was going to pay for the new mowers looks like at the cost of not cutting grass also if the grass isn’t edged up in the autumn we will start to lose the paths some we have already. Why is TDC putting hanging baskets each year in northbound road when l think sea fronts like MARGATE MARGATE MARGATE should get a lot more colour all the other places like Ramsgate Broadstairs etc are always full of colour .

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