Uncut grass is ‘completely out of control’ across Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon borough

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Unsightly uncut grass in some public areas of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon council area has reached ‘four foot tall’ according to local councillors.

As a result of concerns, the council is to write to the NI Housing Executive, to urge the statutory body to cut grass where it is badly needed, following a proposal tabled by Councillor Thomas O’Hanlon.

Speaking at last Tuesday’s monthly council meeting, the SDLP representative for Armagh DEA said: “We usually in here complain about Roads Service. In fairness Roads Service at the minute are out actually cutting the verges, but if you go into our town centres the grass on council-owned land is dreadful.

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“Housing Executive are probably every bit as bad. I know I’ve raised this in relation to council land, and I’ve been advised that it’s everything from recruitment to staff sickness, to people being moved from grounds maintenance to back onto bins.

Councillor Thomas O'Hanlon.  Picture: ABC Borough CouncilCouncillor Thomas O'Hanlon.  Picture: ABC Borough Council
Councillor Thomas O'Hanlon. Picture: ABC Borough Council

“I know the good work that the Environmental Services Working Group has been doing, but here we are again, we’re in a scenario where every year the grass needs cut.

“I think there’s a number of members of staff who started in the last couple of weeks, there’s now another batch due to start in another couple of weeks.

“We really need to get a grip on this. Can we get an update as quickly as possible as to when we will be on top of the grass cutting on areas that council are responsible for?

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“And secondly can we write to the Housing Executive and raise our concerns about the grass cutting – or the lack thereof – on lands which they are responsible for?”

Alderman Stephen Moutray. Picture: ABC Borough CouncilAlderman Stephen Moutray. Picture: ABC Borough Council
Alderman Stephen Moutray. Picture: ABC Borough Council

Cllr O’Hanlon’s proposal was seconded by Councillor Kate Evans (UUP, Craigavon DEA).

Alderman Stephen Moutray (DUP, Lurgan DEA) had more to say on the matter: “I just wanted to come back in relation to Cllr O’Hanlon’s proposal and I agree with it, but currently the grass in Mourneview and the Grey estate in Lurgan is four-foot tall, and that lies with the Housing Executive.

“The Housing Executive promised endlessly for weeks now to myself and my colleague, Councillor Peter Haire in Lurgan, that it will be cut, and tonight it’s still not cut.

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“There’s a danger now of infestation of mice, so I would endorse what Cllr O’Hanlon has said and ask that we get in contact with the Housing Executive ASAP, to see if we can try and get them to move on some of these things.”

Councillor Liam Mackle (Sinn Féin, Lurgan DEA) echoed Alderman Moutray’s remarks: “Just to concur with Alderman Moutray. The grass is completely out of control and it’s all Housing Executive responsibility, and in Mourneview and the Grey estate they’ve been promising that they would do it this week, last week, and it’s still not done, so I totally agree with that.”

Lord Mayor, Alderman Margaret Tinsley, concluded: “Members, we’ll ensure there’s a letter out ASAP to all the relevant Housing Executive departments with that.”

Director of Environmental Services & Sustainability, Jonathan Hayes explained that the grass-cutting issue would be looked into: “Hopefully on the Environmental Services Working Group on May 30, we’ll pick up the aspects associated with the grass cutting, and the resource, and the recruitment that’s ongoing in relation to staffing in that regard.”