Grass ‘grows faster in south of West Norfolk than elsewhere’, says council report

West Norfolk Council's offices
West Norfolk Council's offices
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Grass tends to grow quicker in southern parts of West Norfolk, because its weather is warmer and wetter than the rest of the borough, a new report has claimed.

A council committee will examine options for the potential reform of grass cutting services in the borough at a meeting tomorrow.

But officials have warned that additional funding would have to be obtained in order to increase the service.

There has been criticism of how grassed areas across the borough are maintained this year, after the service was reduced earlier this year, because of financial pressures.

Under the current regime, grass in high profile parks and gardens is cut 18 times, around once a fortnight during the main cutting season from March to October.

Twelve cuts are carried out in built-up areas and at road junctions, while six are carried out in road areas where it does not immediately affect motorists’ vision and land adjacent to property frontages.

The council is also paid to carry out five cuts on lands owned by Norfolk County Council, though more work is currently undertaken.

But, despite some communities claiming the condition of their grass was a “disgrace”, a report published ahead of the borough council’s environment and community panel meeting tomorrow said there had only been a slight increase in complaints.

The document said that, of the 119 complaints made, 34 per cent were from Downham, 23 per cent from Lynn, two per cent from Hunstanton and 41 per cent from parishes across the borough.

It went on: “It is universally recognised that the grass in Downham Market grows at a quicker rate than that of King’s Lynn or Hunstanton.

“It appears that this is largely due to the favourable grass growing conditions that are in that area.

“The conditions are warmer and wetter in Downham Market than in the other towns, which provide the ideal growing conditions for grass.”

Of the parish complaints, around a third were from the southern part of the borough, which the report said “have similar environmental conditions to Downham Market.”

Officials also said that operational and staffing issues which had contributed to the complaints were being addressed ahead of the next cutting season.

Committee members will examine four possible options, including leaving the service as it is.

Alternatives include raising the number of cuts to either eight or 12, or a mixture of the two depending on the types of land covered, and limiting the number of cuts made on county council land to the five it currently pays for.

But the report stressed that a decision to increase the frequency of cuts would need to be funded either by the borough council itself or through the special expenses system where parishes pay the authority to carry out work on its behalf.

In one example, officials said the charge levied on residents in Fincham would rise by £1.51 per household, more than two thirds of the current level, if the frequency was increased from six to 12 cuts.

But they added that equated to just two pence per week.