The trial changes to Wokingham Borough Council’s grass cutting service introduced this year have proved a success and will be built on in years to come.
After a difficult summer in 2014, the borough council listened to residents’ views and worked with its contractor to improve the service this summer.
The changes tried this summer have been:
- Targeting areas that need a higher level of maintenance such as play areas and sports pitches
- Introducing long grass areas which provide more diverse natural habitats for wildlife
- Wildflower borders in highly visible areas in order to enhance biodiversity and provide attractive landscapes.
These changes have helped the council keep on top of grass cutting, support biodiversity and enhance the appearance of some parts of the Wokingham Borough without additional cost. The council has also invited comments on the changes and these have been generally supportive.
Executive member for environment Cllr Angus Ross said: "The difference between this summer and last summer is incredible and credit must go to the residents who took part in our consultation and helped us plan improvements.
"We understood the frustration last year; we listened to what people told us and used that information to plan a better service. The benefits to biodiversity may take a longer time to quantify, but it is clear already that we’ve been on top of grass cutting in the important areas and have improved the look of a few of our parks. The next challenge is to build on this year’s success in the long-term."
The borough council has used this year’s changes to draw-up a new grounds maintenance contract which has been now been put out to tender. This new contract offers greater flexibility and has been informed by the successes of this year. The council will require whoever is awarded the contract to build on this year’s success.
The wildflower trials introduced this year were in Cantley Park (Wokingham), Ashenbury Park (Woodley) and on the Woosehill Spine Road. Residents are encouraged to suggest other wildflower sites for the future.