Council slammed for 'Third World' maintenance of grass on South Bristol Link Road
PUBLISHED: 09:49 18 August 2019
Council chiefs have been accused of a 'scandalous dereliction of duty' by failing to maintain the verges on the £45million South Bristol Link Road, near Long Ashton.
Bristol city councillor Richard Eddy, who represents the neighbouring Bishopsworth ward, says North Somerset Council has left the approaches to Lime Kiln roundabout 'resembling something from the Third World' with 'elephant grass' exceeding 6ft.
But North Somerset says it will only cut the grass once a year - unless safety becomes an issue - as part of its new re-wilding programme which seeks to allow flowers to grow on verges.
Contractors Alun Griffiths Ltd built the road, which opened in January 2017, and was tasked with undertaking grounds maintenance for the first five years.
But the deal was bought out by Bristol city and North Somerset councils the following year to save money, which included the authorities agreeing to cut the grass.
Tory Cllr Eddy, whose ward straddles the link road, slammed North Somerset Council for taking the money from the contract but failing to deliver its side of the bargain.
He said: "The council is guilty, in my view and my constituents' experience, of a scandalous dereliction of duty.
"Parts of the South Bristol Link Road now resemble something from the third world."
He said Bristol's council had done work this year, but North Somerset's has not.
Cllr Eddy added: "Several years ago, I was fortunate to have a holiday to Nepal and we thrillingly rode elephants in the then Royal Chitwan National Park.
"The elephant grass in the National Park was only marginally lower than the height of the grass North Somerset Council has allowed to grow on the Lime Kiln roundabout."
Cllr James Tonkin, North Somerset's executive member for highways, believes the grass suits the rural setting.
He said: "Providing that visibility and road safety is not affected, we will cut the grass once a year.
"The council unanimously passed a motion at our last meeting that we should put in place a re-wilding programme and actively seek to identify as many areas as possible, of the verges, parks and open spaces it operates, where this can be done."