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.
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.”
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.”