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Overgrown parks ‘now no-go areas’, say parents – as Brent Council admits it can’t afford to cut the grass

PUBLISHED: 15:53 20 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:04 23 July 2018

Children tackling the long grass on the way to their sports day.

Children tackling the long grass on the way to their sports day.

Archant

Cash-strapped Brent Council’s unusual plan to save money by not cutting the grass in green spaces is ruining them for everyone except the bees, parents say.

Roe Green ParkRoe Green Park

The town hall has decided to “create” urban habitats and wildlife by doing nothing to certain areas of parks, in a move supported by some environmental groups.

But parents say it’s encouraging people to fly-tip, which in turn brings rats, making kids’ playgrounds no-go areas.

Laura Warner, who lives in Church Lane, said half of the local park had been turned into a “meadow”.

She told the Times: “I’ve lived in the borough for 25 years, as a child my father took great pride in bringing us to the local park and my brother played football in it.

Roe Green ParkRoe Green Park

“I used to bring my kids here too but now with the amount of broken glass bottles and rubbish being dumped I don’t.

“To say the state of our parks and open spaces is shocking is an understatement. The council implemented the return of meadows to our open spaces without consulting any of the local community.

“We all pay council tax and are left to wonder why we when we get nothing in return.”

Laura told of a traumatic experience for children at her daughter’s school on their way to sports day earlier this month.

Children tackling the long grass on the way to their sports day.Children tackling the long grass on the way to their sports day.

“It was at Hendon football club, and bringing them through Silver Jubilee Park was beyond a joke.

“The grass was higher than their waists. The number of children who complained about being hurt by grass, insects and how hard it was to walk was heartbreaking.

“Children should enjoy the outdoor and feel privileged to have these beautiful space in our local communities.”

Brent’s environment chief Cllr Krupa Sheth put it down to crippling cuts from the government.

She said: “Our funding from central government has been cut in half since 2010.

“This means we simply cannot continue to provide services in the way we have up to now.

“We are maintaining recreational use by continuing to cut the grass in popular areas whilst creating new and vital urban habitats for wildlife.

“Meadows help protect native species of wildflowers and the insects and birds that feed on them, which have declined significantly in recent years.”

Cllr Sheth added the anti-social behaviour issues were not down to the longer grass, and said there was usually a spike in the summer months. The council is looking at using Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) – essentially local laws – to stamp it out.

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