A DAD has won praise from Malmesbury residents after he took matters into his own hands and spent five hours cutting foot high grass at a children’s playground.
His action came as sustained criticism hit Wiltshire Council’s contractor Balfour Beatty Living Places for failing to cut grass regularly enough on busy road junctions, playgrounds and parks across the county.
The council has already expressed concern about the level of resources the firm is devoting to the contract and last month in the west of the county it ordered the company to bring in extra teams of grass cutters to bring the schedule back up to date.
But in Malmesbury the efforts of landscape gardener Wayne Kibble were highlighted this week on Facebook. In a post that garnered more than 300 “likes” in the space of a couple of hours, resident Wayne Bull complained that the contractors had not cut the grass at the Filands playground for two months and suggested the contract should be handed over to his namesake.
Mr Kibble regularly takes his daughters Izzie, three, and Evie, seven to play there and took action when he saw Izzie struggling to run through the tall grass. “I just thought if I had a couple of hours the next day I’d go up there. It just took a little bit longer than I was expecting.”
He explained he had cut the grass over the past three years, when, due to weather, the crew had missed their scheduled day. A council official had once advised him he could be fined for doing it but said he wouldn’t do anything about it because the grass clearly needed cutting.
In fact other residents had now suggested a mowing rota. “We’re all friends and neighbours up here,” said Mr Kibble. “My kids play there, my friends kids play there. It is a great little asset to have, but it just needs to be maintained as well as Malmesbury Town Council’s parks.
But it appeared Wiltshire Council still classed it as just an open space, which meant fewer cuts and that the mowed grass, often containing animal excreta, was left behind.
Wiltshire Council is set to review the £150 million contract, handed to Balfour Beatty last year.