Grass cutting is council job, ‘according to lease’
9:30am Thursday 29th August 2013 in News
A COMMUNITY centre lawn has gone to wrack and ruin following a row over who is responsible for maintaining it.
Grass at the Nythe Community Centre has been allowed to grow more than a foot high and brambles are now encroaching on to a nearby public pathway.
The chairman of the centre says under the terms of the lease it is the responsibility of the council to cut the grass but they have now told her it is the centre’s job due to cost cutting.
“It has grown out of control because of the good weather,” said Sue Vowles.
“The last time the council came to cut it was in June and they have not been back since.
“The first we heard of the change in policy was when they didn’t turn up to cut it.”
It has become so overgrown the community centre is now losing bookings and the committee are concerned the brambles could injure a child with schools returning next week.
Sue said: “One booking has already cancelled on us.
“It was a birthday party and they wanted to play outside obviously because of the good weather but it was just not possible.
“I think is has now become dangerous and I am worried someone is going to get hurt, especially on the public path.”
The community centre does not currently have the funds to bring in their own maintanence team and because of the lease they are not able to bring in their own equipment to do it themselves as it is not covered by the insurance.
Discussions have been held to come up with a solution to the problem but in the meantime the centre is left in limbo as the greenery continues to grow out of control.
“There have been talks about the possibility of the probation service taking over the maintainence but that could take a long time,” said Sue.
“A lot of the other community centres received notification of the change in policy that they were now responsible.
“However, because we are in a wooden building our agreement never changed because they could not get insurance on the new lease agreement.”
The community centre understands the council’s need to reduce costs and if needs be, is prepared to look at ways of dealing with the overgrowth.
But they would need the council-owned fences to be fixed so they could not be held accountable for any of the current damage.
A Swindon Council spokesman said: “We have met with representatives from the community centre and we understand their concerns.
“We have agreed we will do a set of works to tidy it all up, and will then look at various options to come up with a workable, long-term solution.”
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