Anger over timing of work in green area

Residents in Merley Gate are unhappy that trimming work was carried out when the grass verges were soft.
Residents in Merley Gate are unhappy that trimming work was carried out when the grass verges were soft.

Residents in a Morpeth estate have reacted with anger after Northumberland County Council workers were sent to trim hedges and tree branches overhanging a pathway.

The work undertaken last week at Merley Gate in Loansdean has left soft grass verges cut-up and rutted with deep tyre impressions after the tractor-mounted hedge trimmer had finished.

Locals are annoyed that the green space, which children often use to play in, has been ‘ruined’.

They have contacted the authority to ask why the work could not have waited until the ground was hard enough to bear the tractor’s weight.

The council says it was carried out as part of its winter maintenance schedule and the tyre marks ‘have not caused any serious damage’.

A Merley Gate resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “Why the council didn’t leave the work until the ground had hardened beggars belief.

“Surely it would have made sense to wait a few more weeks until spring – and the harder ground – had arrived? This green space has been ruined.

“After all, we waited in vain all of last year for the council to come and see that the tree branches and hedges were trimmed.”

A spokeswoman for the county council said: “Ground conditions are very wet at present due to the rainfall we have experienced, but we still have teams out working on our winter maintenance schedule.

“It includes undertaking this type of work and it is important to complete this work during the winter period.

“We try to minimise the impact of moving equipment over soft ground – for example the tractor deployed on this site had grass tyres on, which minimises the chances of damage.

“If we do cause ruts or serious damage to a grass verge we repair the damage and reinstate it as soon as conditions allow us to do so.

“On this occasion, the tyre marks left behind by our tractor have not caused any serious damage, the natural growth of the grass will not be restricted and there is no requirement for any reinstatement works.

“We are sorry if the tyre marks look unsightly but assure residents that this will not have a long-term effect on how the grass grows or how the verge looks.”