Hawick’s grass verges no place for half-measures, council told

Councillor Stuart Marshall is unimpressed by a half-cut grass bank in Hawicks Stirches Road.
Councillor Stuart Marshall is unimpressed by a half-cut grass bank in Hawicks Stirches Road.

A decision taken on health and safety grounds to only cut the bottom half of grassed banks in Hawick has been labelled “absolutely ridiculous”.

The move, now pending a review, was taken over concerns about the potential risk of injury posed to machine operators working at the top of steep bankings.

The result has been to make areas of the town looking neglected, according to Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall.

He is calling for a reversal of the decision and consideration to be given to private contractors being brought in to carry out the work if the risks to council employees are deemed to be too high.

However, a Scottish Borders Council spokesperson said health and safety responsibility for any accident would still lie with the authority even if a private contractor was brought in to do the work.

Mr Marshall considers the current situation to be unsustainable and is seeking a speedy resolution.

He said: “I have received several complaints from angry members of the public who are quite rightly furious to see high grass bankings in their neighbourhood only being cut at the bottom.

“To be honest, it looks absolutely ridiculous to see bankings that have received only half a cut, and one has to ask themselves what on earth are we coming to.

“I am being told that health and safety is part of the problem for the council, and if this is the case, then it is high time that a plan is put in place to address the matter.

“Neighbourhoods such as Stirches Road and Burnfoot Road on the approach to the A7 look seriously untidy and certainly give the area a look of neglect.

“Maybe we should now be looking at employing private contractors who are willing to carry out these maintenance issues.

“Either way I fully support the views of those that I represent, and I’m prepared to work with whoever in order to resolve this issue.”

The council spokesperson added: “There are a number of grassed bankings across the Scottish Borders which, on review, are deemed too steep to cut by traditional methods due to the risk to those involved.

“The council is currently not cutting these areas pending a review of the way in which these steep grass areas can be maintained or if the need to cut can be removed.”