Due to their budget cuts, Bucks County Council is only funding 6 cuts of the grass verges this year and next year. The following year, the budget is cut in half again, meaning that in years 3 and 4 the grass verges will only be cut 3 times during the year. The County Council is investigating devolving their grass and hedge cutting duties, siding out of footpaths and keeping road signs clean to the parish council. They would provide the same amount of funding that was due to be spent in the parish, but as we would use local contractors, the cuts could be timed better. If the parish council took on board this duty, there would also be the option to pay for additional cuts from our own element of the council tax, which is not capped in the same way as the County Council budget at present.
The other side of the argument is that environmentalists would encourage the grass verges to be cut less frequently (apart from vision splays) to encourage wild flowers and biodiversity. A good example of this could be seen along Westfield Road where the wild flowers were beautiful this year (until the grass was cut) including a number of bee orchids.
We need to know the views of our electorate. This issue affects your village and your council tax payments. Get in touch before the end of July with your views on these three key questions:
Would you like to see the parish council take over this responsibility?
Would you be willing to pay extra council tax for extra cuts?
Would you like to see some areas left to grow to encourage biodiversity, and if so, which ones?
Please note that the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust and Aylesbury Vale District Council have their own contractors to cut their own areas of grass. Hence the reason that you might find long grass right next to a cut area at some points around the village. Whilst we would intend to speak to these two authorities, the offer of funding is currently only from Bucks County Council and only applies to the areas within the 30mph limits (BCC will retain authority for the areas outside the 30mph limits eg the vision splays at the far end of Vicarage Road).
We will be publishing this information on Facebook, Twitter and in the PPP (which is delivered to all homes) as well. You can get in touch with us via the web site, Facebook, Twitter, phone, email or letter.
Laurie Eagling, Clerk to Pitstone Parish Council