Mystery mower turns wildflower area in Margate into ‘barren’ ground

BARREN: From wildflowers to browned patch

Outrage at the mowing of a wildflower area in Margate has turned to bafflement over who was responsible.

The area on Fort Hill, at the rear of Turner Contemporary, had been a haven of wildflowers and pollinators but residents say they were shocked to find the area razed of all life last week.

And the question of who was responsible remains unanswered. Thanet council say the site is the responsibility of Kent County Council (KCC) and KCC say it is Turner Contemporary’s responsibility while Turner Contemporary says it ‘definitely’ doesn’t manage the area, saying it is ‘KCC land.’

However, KCC say land managed by its staff appears on the below map either as bright green or blue hatched. The strip in question is pale green, indicating it as not KCC maintained.

A spokesperson for the Margate Nature Trail group said they are aghast at “the senseless and brutal destruction of the wildflower meadow.”

They added: “The meadow contained yarrow, poppies, lady’s bedstraw, knapweed, valerian, bristly ox-tongue, and many other wildflowers, and was full of pollinators, bees and birds. It was not in anyone’s way and was the starting point of The Margate Nature Trail Project, providing a place for children and educators to meet, and share and learn about biodiversity.

“Tragically this has all now been lost.

“The area was razed to the ground without any reason and is now barren and litter strewn. Birds gathered early the following morning on tamarisk shrubs on the ground opposite with nowhere to forage, hop or feed. Hundreds of thousands of pollinators and insects will have been wiped out.

Before

“Insect population is declining rapidly, bees are endangered and species are disappearing and one of the reasons for this is loss of habitat brought on by thoughtless and ill conceived acts such as this.

“Thankfully there is still a walled garden at the site which remains full of wildflowers. This garden is inaccessible to the machinery of destruction and therefore has remained for the wildlife, the children and the Nature Trail Project and can still be used as the starting point of the trail which is due to begin this summer.

“We are heartened by the enlightened involvement of some council members in our project and we aim to provide education to all about putting nature at the heart of everything we do.”

After

Kent County Council now has numerous officers  investigating the wildflower destruction in a bid to find out who the mystery mower is.

Upset has also been expressed over the mowing of a 1.5 acre area at Ramsgate’s Westcliff which was home to nesting birds and other wildlife but is now bare other than browned stubble and shredded plastic and tin cans.

40 Comments

  1. Meanwhile the project to create a wildflower meadow on early half an acre site in Palm Bay at Knockholt Road urgently needs financial support.

    Their GoFundMe is still less than half target. There’s equipment costs of mowing, collecting, scarrifying, turf cutting, seeds that need to be covered.

    Please support them if you are able.

  2. If the roots are still in the ground then surely the plants will grow back, especially as the weather is now quite rainy.

  3. Is this the kind of problem that occurs when all Council jobs and services (including mowing verges and grassy areas), have been sub-contracted to private companies, several stages removed from the actual Council and its policies?
    So somebody with machinery and a (rough)map turns up, has no interest or knowledge in the policies of the Council or the preferences of local residents, and just mows flat whatever looks like long grass.
    If Council services were provided by Council staff, they would have a knowledge of what the councillors had decided and would have long-term jobs that would enable them to know what is the task in hand and what is non-Council land.
    Privatisation and contracting-out of Government work is a godsend for “jobsworths” who just blindly work to what they think is an agreed contract and they cannot be diverted from that agreement, regardless of how many residents approach the Council for sensible alterations to a maintenance regime. It’s too late for any changes to the mowing regime as the Councils agree to a contract and then leave it to the private company to do it. No flexibility or ability to respond to residents’ wishes.

  4. Excellent news.At least somebody has shown a great deal of common sense and made this area tidy again. rather than having it look like a neglected wasteland like the majority of Thanet!

    • No doubt it was a Boomer “making it look tidy” blissfully unaware of what an important part of the environment and food chain these areas play.

      I hope the younger generation are given better education than the older “mow everything” generation….

      Save the bees…

      • Many older people are thoroughly aware of the need to encourage diversity of planting both in their own gardens and in public spaces.

        And many younger people lay hard-standing and plastic “grass” in their gardens, which is not at all environment-friendly.

        • Marva – I don’t disagree but in my experience it always seems to be older gentlemen up in arms that the local green hasn’t been mowed in three days and it’s looks “messy” – hassling the council to mow it ASAP. I’d imagine many times these Council depts do it for a quiet life.

      • Certainly not TDC as they don’t mow anything. This “wildlife” theory is an excuse not to do any work in my opinion. Why do we need “wildlife meadows” in place of nice colourful flowerbeds on the seafront?

    • Are you not reading any of this information about the disappearance of insects and wildlife because of th loss of habitats? How do you think your fruit vegetables andmeat will be producd when all the pollnators have been destroyed because of lack of their food sources due to people ‘tidying up’ WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Only it is not tidy with litter and shredded rubbish left behind on the barren ground. It was colourful and home to a huge amount of wildlife that we depend on. I much preferred the wildlife than the tidy mess.

      Why wasn’t signs put up to inform the public and contractors that the piece of ground has been left for the beauty of it’s wildness? It is Thanet and not many use their common sense.

      Check CCTV to find out who it was that did it. The police station is opposite!

    • Totally agree with Margateer… at least it looks tidy… apply some grass seeds and beautiful green grass will looks much better that this “mini forest” wich nobody care about… it looks awful and someone should care more about it. … as there is lots of rubbish hidden…. check how other country’s carrying about them green areas… green lines between road….here disaster. Rubbish everywhere… no landscapes… Check Europe city….not so far to look.. check out Dunkerque…clean streets… beautiful flowers everywhere around …not wildlife which mostly is used a “bin” ….whatever

  5. Make your minds up for gods sake the other week residents were up in arms and moaning about the “jungle” fearing a orangutang was about to run out of the bush in Westgate they could not care less about the birds and bees habitat. Now the grass has been cut here the moaning crying mob are at it again. It look much better cut. Don’t give TDC any excuse not to cut the grass we have more trees and bushes growing in the gutters than we have ever had don’t let them (tdc) have anymore things to avoid.

  6. Appalling news.
    An absolute oasis of wild life, a fillip to all the senses, has been reduced to a barren wasteland, worse even, than artificial grass (which at least looks green).
    The Land Registry will show who owns the land.

  7. Doesn’t matter who did it, the question is why was it done. I work with a lot of councils in London on a daily basis and I have to say they are all crap.

  8. I could not agree more Audrey, one of main reasons for that is they (councils ) think they are our masters when in fact they are public servants. Andrew when you have done crying I can comfort you by saying dry your tears mate the grass will grow into a mess again if it’s allowed to and the owner of the land has every right to cut the grass as and when they want to.

    • I don’t think Andrew is crying. Why would he?

      I too would rather see a variety of wildflowers among longish grass than short grass with perhaps no flowers at all in it.

  9. Marva Rees

    Agree these people who are up in arms again over a patch of land. Yet their neighbours etc continue to pave their front gardens, decking everywhere and yes even plastic grass that cant be recycled.

    These are the things these people should be campaigning against. Do you complain to your neighbours ?

    Instead these people would rather the public spaces around thanet look a mess ! Not everyone in thanet wants uncut grass everywhere.

    • and not everyone wants to see brown patches where there was once colour, Grass Anorak, grey Thanet grey people what a miserable place to be people make me sick

      • Where did I say I wanted brown patches ?

        I am more than happy to nicely kept grass. And also to have nicely maintained wild areas. They needs to compromise. Hight tourists area should be nicely maintained, other areas can be more wild but maintained.

        Sorry my views make you sick, even if you are putting words into my mouth 😉

        • Grass Anorak I did not say your views make me sick I said people do and by the way sod the tourists the only thing that they would notice is whether the places in Thanet are clean do you really think they come here to criticise wild flower patches? a wild flower patch is exactly that you can not manicure them, when the flowers and grasses have finished flowering they should be left to set seed and then, and only then should they be tidied up and not before certainly not when they are in full flower just to make this miserable place tidy for tourists.

  10. when are people going to get it into their thick heads we need flora and fauna and trees in our lives to survive? only trouble is those who destroy these things in the long term will benefit along with the people that have tried to save them which to me is wrong.

  11. Luckily there wasn’t any trees to cut down. The council likes pretending they are diseased and then cuts them down. Perhaps this piece of land was diseased also? Ask yourself one question who turns up with a mower and just starts cutting the grass.

    • Are you absolutely sure that”The council likes pretending [trees] are diseased and then cuts them down”? If so could you provide some impartial evidence?

  12. The important thing moving forward is to learn why areas like this are so important. Please support knockholt road project and other projects like it. Support all wildlife conservation projects. Reserve a part of your garden for nature. Use less plastic. Reduce your consumption of meat. Join local groups of conservation. Friends of the earth Thanet. Be kind

    • When they talking about refreezing the artic to buy a few years #chanel 4 news! Then you need to panic!

  13. No flowers no bees no food not rocket science a. wot bellends I rode past it every morning the diversity of insects were mad,birds swopping to catch bugs that was a mini circle of life. see how man kills everything in its path we really can’t even maintain that never mind a rain forest such a shame.

  14. If we sit back and say nothing and don’t protect nature we are already going to have 40 degree summers in 10 years and costal erosion around the whole of the UK. The sea levels are going to cause costal flooding. Nice cut grass and you lovely paved driveway won’t exist anymore. The crops will fail. Migration across the world to the only few safe places. I know this is only a small space but we need to stand up for nature. We need nature to exist.

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