Overgrown grass verges 'something you'd see in Kenya,' Taunton resident claims

This is The West Country: Stan Turner highlights the state of the grass verges by his home in Galmington. Stan Turner highlights the state of the grass verges by his home in Galmington.

SHABBY grass verges are making Taunton look like a “third-rate place”, it was claimed this week.

Fed up residents say overgrown grass, hedges and weeds are blighting the county town, with many resorting to doing the dirty work themselves.

Now, they are calling on Taunton Deane Council to sort out the mess.

Stan Turner, of Galmington Drive, says that part of town needs particularly attention. He said: “It’s a disgrace.

For the county town and a tourist area is it just not good enough. It makes Taunton look like a third-rate place; something you would expect to see in Kenya.

“They cut the grass in May but in some ways it’s worse now.

“They have missed bits and it is two foot high in places because they have done a bad job.

“The cut grass that was lying on the top is now blocking drains and it has got to the point where several of us have decided to sort it out ourselves when we shouldn’t have to.”

People in Lawn Meadow, Ruishton, have also taken matters into their own hands. Julia and Ron Cann said they returned from holiday to find cut grass strewn everywhere.

This is The West Country:

Ron Cann cleans up a verge by his home in Ruishton.

Ron, 77, said: “Cutters left the hay after mowing the metre-high weeds. Neighbours with small verges outside can keep them cut, but the size of this one makes it impossible.

“A kind neighbour cuts some of it occasionally but for some reason people think the responsibility is ours, but the verges are an amenity for all to enjoy.”

James Lowe, landlord at the Maypole Inn at Thurloxton, says verges are dangerously high on the A38 by West Monkton, making it difficult to see traffic at some junctions.

He said: “I drive into and out of West Monkton everyday like many thousands of people. My issue is with the length of the grass and verges in Taunton Deane.

“We already cut the grass verges in front of our pub but some verges are so high that in a normal car you can’t see over the grass, meaning you can’t see oncoming cars.”

This is The West Country:

James Lowe sent in this photo showing grass blocking the view of drivers at a junction on the A38.

The Deane is contracted to undertake two cuts this year and says it is paying for three extra cuts around town from its unparished fund.

One cut was carried out in May with another scheduled for late July or early August.

Mark Edwards, deputy leader of the council, said: “We have agreed to fund additional verge cutting in Taunton as we want to make the county town as tidy as possible. Some of the parishes within the borough’s boundary are also paying for extra cuts.

“We cannot pick up the bill for extra verge cutting across the borough as would simply be beyond our limited means.

“But we are doing what we can where we can despite the continued squeeze on the public purse.”

A Somerset County Council spokesman added: “Grass cutting in urban areas, and on housing estates, has historically been carried out by district councils for amenity purposes more frequently than that required for road safety.

“In the past, all five district councils within Somerset have provided additional cuts at their own expense and the majority continue to do so today.

“Taunton Deane, however, has chosen to relinquish their contribution to the programme, hence the reduction in the level of service provided within the Taunton area.”

Comments (17)

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7:36am Thu 5 Jun 14

Siker72 says...

Where I live in west taunton the grass resembles rain forests of the amazon, funny thing is a man came driving about on Tuesday spraying for weeds and I couldn't help thinking grass the grass first!!!
Where I live in west taunton the grass resembles rain forests of the amazon, funny thing is a man came driving about on Tuesday spraying for weeds and I couldn't help thinking grass the grass first!!! Siker72
  • Score: 0

9:10am Thu 5 Jun 14

Just-a-Thought101 says...

I agree! Plus with half the roads closed around Taunton at the moment it would certainly help visibility if the verges were trimmed! I usually end up being forced into a hedge to allow for passing cars because the diversion routes aren't wide enough with all the overgrown bushes!! Very annoying!
I agree! Plus with half the roads closed around Taunton at the moment it would certainly help visibility if the verges were trimmed! I usually end up being forced into a hedge to allow for passing cars because the diversion routes aren't wide enough with all the overgrown bushes!! Very annoying! Just-a-Thought101
  • Score: 10

9:33am Thu 5 Jun 14

DonSeer says...

"for some reason people think the responsibility is ours"

Where I live the deeds state that I, as the homeowner am responsible for the verge, therefore I cut it.
"for some reason people think the responsibility is ours" Where I live the deeds state that I, as the homeowner am responsible for the verge, therefore I cut it. DonSeer
  • Score: 7

10:33am Thu 5 Jun 14

TauntonFirst says...

I think the real problem are the overgrow verges at junctions and roundabouts making them very dangerous... If you're unhappy with the length of the grass outside your house then you can cut it easily, but we rely on the local authority to make sure the junctions and roundabouts are clear; i think these should be the priority.
I think the real problem are the overgrow verges at junctions and roundabouts making them very dangerous... If you're unhappy with the length of the grass outside your house then you can cut it easily, but we rely on the local authority to make sure the junctions and roundabouts are clear; i think these should be the priority. TauntonFirst
  • Score: 28

10:52am Thu 5 Jun 14

Somerset_BTGOG says...

How come I still see Council workers weeding flower beds in the Town?
Surely this is a lower priority than cutting grass verges that are obstructing drivers vision on junctions?
How come I still see Council workers weeding flower beds in the Town? Surely this is a lower priority than cutting grass verges that are obstructing drivers vision on junctions? Somerset_BTGOG
  • Score: 16

11:06am Thu 5 Jun 14

topcataj says...

Can't quite take this seriously when people compare it to Kenya or the Amazon Rainforest! #1stworldproblems
Can't quite take this seriously when people compare it to Kenya or the Amazon Rainforest! #1stworldproblems topcataj
  • Score: 16

2:22pm Thu 5 Jun 14

Wurzel Bob says...

Seriously - Lawn Meadow, Ruishton???
Seriously - Lawn Meadow, Ruishton??? Wurzel Bob
  • Score: 1

3:26pm Thu 5 Jun 14

nat_11 says...

the neighbour got there 11 year old son cutting the grass on the verge, good way to keep them busy and earn pocket money
the neighbour got there 11 year old son cutting the grass on the verge, good way to keep them busy and earn pocket money nat_11
  • Score: 6

7:49pm Thu 5 Jun 14

Coolio1 says...

It's all about budgets and the grass cutting has suffered , previously Taunton Deane has been allowed extra cuts and this is explained by SCC in the article and now there is enough money for 2 cuts ONLY all year unless the Parish councils add more money to the pot. Unless more funding is agreed then what is the answer ? The bad news is that SCC still have to deliver another round of massive financial cuts and so i can't see this getting any better. I agree that some of the roads look terrible before and after the cutting has happened and that there could be a safety issue. How about some of the money that was paid out to the Chief Exec of SCC whilst she was on gardening leave was actually used for real gardening and that the grass cutting had extra funding ? Just a thought!
It's all about budgets and the grass cutting has suffered , previously Taunton Deane has been allowed extra cuts and this is explained by SCC in the article and now there is enough money for 2 cuts ONLY all year unless the Parish councils add more money to the pot. Unless more funding is agreed then what is the answer ? The bad news is that SCC still have to deliver another round of massive financial cuts and so i can't see this getting any better. I agree that some of the roads look terrible before and after the cutting has happened and that there could be a safety issue. How about some of the money that was paid out to the Chief Exec of SCC whilst she was on gardening leave was actually used for real gardening and that the grass cutting had extra funding ? Just a thought! Coolio1
  • Score: 17

10:27pm Thu 5 Jun 14

feeby12007 says...

More people could take pride in their surroundings and just do it because they care :)
More people could take pride in their surroundings and just do it because they care :) feeby12007
  • Score: 11

7:51am Sat 7 Jun 14

Dr Dave says...

Well said Feeby, if people put as much effort into their local surroundings as they do moaning here, the town would be a better place.

Not expecting a pat on the back but I've cut a bit of verge grass in my village to keep things just that little safer.
Well said Feeby, if people put as much effort into their local surroundings as they do moaning here, the town would be a better place. Not expecting a pat on the back but I've cut a bit of verge grass in my village to keep things just that little safer. Dr Dave
  • Score: 5

1:05pm Sat 7 Jun 14

joe3945 says...

Does Taunton Deane actually 'do' anything other than collect our taxes? What are they 'for'? What services do they actually provide. It just seems like 'money in' and 'nothing out'. Might as well flush our tax down the toilet.
Does Taunton Deane actually 'do' anything other than collect our taxes? What are they 'for'? What services do they actually provide. It just seems like 'money in' and 'nothing out'. Might as well flush our tax down the toilet. joe3945
  • Score: 4

5:57pm Sun 8 Jun 14

Thurza says...

Living in a rural area the hedges and verges are very overgrown, we cut back the corner near us for visibility, I also pick up litter. There are not unlimited funds and I don't mind doing this, I like to see the area around where I live looking tidy.
Living in a rural area the hedges and verges are very overgrown, we cut back the corner near us for visibility, I also pick up litter. There are not unlimited funds and I don't mind doing this, I like to see the area around where I live looking tidy. Thurza
  • Score: 5

10:16am Mon 9 Jun 14

feeby12007 says...

Well said Thurza. I also pick up litter around where I live, always have done. Very irritating that people don't care about how Somerset looks but I think we are very lucky to live in such a beautiful county and I like it to look tidy :)
Well said Thurza. I also pick up litter around where I live, always have done. Very irritating that people don't care about how Somerset looks but I think we are very lucky to live in such a beautiful county and I like it to look tidy :) feeby12007
  • Score: 5

4:25pm Mon 9 Jun 14

DanHickman says...

What makes it even worse is whatever mowers the council are using these days clearly need there blades sharpening just scrapping as they dont even cut the grass level!
What makes it even worse is whatever mowers the council are using these days clearly need there blades sharpening just scrapping as they dont even cut the grass level! DanHickman
  • Score: 3

1:40pm Tue 10 Jun 14

swjoduk says...

Have these people not heard of 'Big Society' and 'Localism'. Money is being cut everywhere, people are expected to help themselves.

Why is it in this country that everyone expects someone else to pick up the bill. If my roof blows off can I write to the MET office as surely they are responsible for the weather???
Have these people not heard of 'Big Society' and 'Localism'. Money is being cut everywhere, people are expected to help themselves. Why is it in this country that everyone expects someone else to pick up the bill. If my roof blows off can I write to the MET office as surely they are responsible for the weather??? swjoduk
  • Score: 1

2:57pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Mi_Coc says...

Whilst its simple enough for residents to cut patches of grass outside their homes it is not to start trimming hedges and grass adjacent to live fast moving carriageways.

More so if private individuals did they would end up falling foul of various health safety laws we have forced on us from Europe so its a lose - lose scenario.
Whilst its simple enough for residents to cut patches of grass outside their homes it is not to start trimming hedges and grass adjacent to live fast moving carriageways. More so if private individuals did they would end up falling foul of various health safety laws we have forced on us from Europe so its a lose - lose scenario. Mi_Coc
  • Score: 1

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