Whitburn OAP is grassed off about overgrown footpath
A furious pensioner has blasted council chiefs for failing to make the cut - as walkers are left stuck in the long grass at a popular beauty spot.
Fed-up Fred Roberts has gone on the warpath over the footpath just yards outside his home in Farrow Drive, Whitburn, which he says has become a no-go zone due to overgrown weeds and grass standing over 5ft tall.
He says he has made a string of calls to South Tyneside Council over his growing concerns which have all fell on deaf ears.
The 75-year-old says the unkempt spot has become a blight on the natural beauty of the area and leaves a bad first impression for visitors passing through.
But he has now lost all ‘hope’ of the footpath finally being trimmed.
South Tyneside Council have now promised to take action to cut back the problem in the next week.
Mr Roberts said: “It is a public footpath but people can’t walk on it as the grass has grown so long.
“I am 5ft 6in and the grass is almost as tall as me.
“There is no way people with children can use the footpath.
“It is a blight on the area and leaves a terrible impression of Whitburn, which is a beautiful part of the borough.
“I have lost all hope of the council doing anything about it.
“They haven’t cut the grass here this year.
“I have rang them four times over the last month and I keep getting told my complaint will be report, but nothing gets done.
“I have given up hope they will turn out and do something.”
Mr Roberts, who is married to Rosemary, says the untidy stretch has not only spoilt a picturesque view but could also prove a health hazard if litter is dumped in the tall grass.
He added: “It has spoilt the area. There are weeds coming through.
“It is a concern that people will just leave litter in the long grass.
“It is also a health issue.
“There were rats running about recently, which could have been due to the grass being left.”
A spokesperson for South Tyneside Council said: “The area highlighted by Mr Roberts is a public right of way that links Lizard Lane to Welland Lane but is not a formal paved footpath. We would like to thank him for bringing this matter to our attention.
“The grass is scheduled to be cut three times a year.
“We are working with our contractor to have it cut over the coming week.”
Borough was grassed off all summer
Complaints after overgrown green spots were running wild in the borough two years ago, with South Tyneside Council facing a backlash after it adopted a policy to introduce of creating 17 wildflower meadows in the borough.
The strategy - later expanded to 60 sites - was rolled out to to help make £300,000 of savings on the council’s annual maintenance and grass-cutting bill as well as create wildlife-friendly grassland.
The scheme attracted fierce criticism in many areas from some residents who said it spoiled the appearance of their neighbourhood.
Many also raised safety fears with some residents saying uncut grass was forcing them children off green spots and onto the road.
Others said overgrown grass was putting off dog walkers.
It prompted a U-turn in one area and and a review of all sites to be carried out.