A Croydon councillor has today criticised the council’s parks contractor, saying that Quadron has been “surprised that the grass grows”.
Many of the borough’s parks and open spaces have not undergone a routine grass cutting over the spring. But this is not some ecological experiment to try to turn the Purley Way Fields into a wildflower meadow, nor is it part of the council’s cost-cutting strategy by reducing the number of cuts of the grass on the roadside verges and council housing estates. According to Carole Bonner, a Labour councillor for Fieldway ward, “Quadron are massively behind” in their work.
As with some many aspects of the council’s tasks and functions, maintenance work in Croydon’s parks and open spaces was outsourced some time ago, apparently as a cost-cutting (if not grass-cutting) measure.
But there have been gathering complaints about Quadron’s performance, or lack of it, as the spring and early summer has seen the grassy areas in the borough’s 120-plus parks and open spaces allowed to grow. And grow. And grow.
“The contract means grass should be cut when it gets to 5cm,” Bonner today told residents of Fieldway and New Addington wards, which are surrounded by exceedingly green and lush public open spaces.
“The picture is the same right across Croydon. Every Quadron team is behind or under-staffed to do the job,” the councillor said.
“Extra crews have been working at weekends and out of hours. They have even sub-contracted some work. Yet the mix of cuts (tractor, mower and strimmer) doesn’t seem to be in sync either.”
The council’s much-reduced in-house staff whose job it is to monitor Quadron’s performance are working to ensure that the grass doesn’t grow under the contractor’s feet, and poor performance penalty fines seem certain. Whether the penalties will match the money Quadron has saved by under-staffing seems unlikely.
“It’s amazing that a landscape contractor is surprised that the grass grows,” Bonner said.
Anyone with complaints about the maintenance of the council-run parks or open spaces should contact firstname.lastname@example.org, and copy-in their local councillors as well as Timothy.email@example.com.
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