Unkempt and overgrown grass across St Albans district is just verging on the ridiculous

Long grass verges in Hatfield Road

Long grass verges in Hatfield Road - Credit: Archant

Grass verges in and around St Albans have become so overgrown and unkempt that they have been branded a disgrace by angry residents and councillors.

The criticism is directed at Herts county council which has taken over the maintenance of grass verges previously carried out by St Albans council contractors.

Some residents have still to have their verges cut for the first time this year, others have seen half their road’s verges cut and the remainder uncut and where they have been mown, large clods of grass have been left on the verges or on the roads or pavements.

In South Close, Chiswell Green, the grass on the verges is now so high that resident Susie Harris took to measuring the height in a bid to get some action taken. The weeds alone were 3ft 7in high.

On the Verulam Estate in St Albans, Mike Duncan said that ‘neglect of verges and open areas is all too evident, as is the dreadful condition of the verges on Bluehouse Hill and the grass on Mayne Avenue opposite Waitrose.”

He added: “I hear that other areas across the city are similarly neglected.”

Joe Clague of Burston Drive, St Albans, said that when the verges had been cut around five weeks ago in his road, the blades were too high so the grass length was barely reduced.

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Clods of grass were left to blow around and when his son, who would not normally have noticed the verges, had visited, he said the place looked dreadful.

Joe added: “It looks like a depressed area.”

Colney Heath district councillor Chris Brazier said that the grass was growing so high on some road junctions that visibility was being affected. He went on: “Harpenden is absolutely beautiful but as soon as you come into St Albans you see a mess of long grass.”

He said Colney Heath parish council’s flowerbeds were swamped by long grass and the parish council was considering paying for the verges to be cut itself even though the county council was supposed to be doing it.

In the Cunningham area, Cllr Robert Donald, said half of the verges on the Whitehedge Estate had been cut and the remainder left. He had intervened to ask the district council’s contractors John O’Conner to cut them even though it was not their responsibility.

He went on” “Where they [the county council] do cut it, they just leave grass cuttings lying on the pavements and roads.”

Cllr Donald, who wants the issue to go on the agenda for the next City Neighbourhoods committee, said there were several problems this year - the transfer of the contract from the district to county council, the poor quality contract specification in terms of frequency of cutting and what was being done with the mown grass.

A spokesperson for the county council said that in the St Albans district, areas had been cut twice already and their contractors Ringway were in the process of finishing a third cut.

She went on: “We have a grass cutting schedule and get to each area as quickly as possible, although this work is weather dependent. We appreciate that some residents would prefer that verges in some areas were cut sooner, but hope they understand that we have large areas of the county to maintain.”

The spokesperson said that the rural network was cut four times a year but urban grass was cut between six and 10 times a year. There had been no decrease in cutting, she added.