A COUNCIL has agreed to spend a whopping £64,000 on the eradication of weeds in a community space and allotment.
Gosport Borough Council met last week to discuss the removal of the Japanese knotweeds by Manor Way in Lee-on-the-Solent, and in Camden Allotments.
There, it was agreed that the council would spend £64,000 on getting rid of the weeds – being legally bound by UK law.
The money will come out of the Camden Allotment Fund – a £200,000 budget to be used on allotment sites.
Japanese knotweed is included in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 – it isn’t illegal to have the plant, but it must be contained.
According to the council, there is currently £135,340 left in that allocated budget.
Councillor Graham Burgess said: ‘We have the funds available for it. It is a special type of weed and has to be dealt with in a particular manner. We have to get rid of it – simple as that.’
Steven Ricketts, from Gosport StreetScene, said: ‘The roots are in council land but is spreading on to neighbouring land.
‘Because we are digging and removing that entire soil it is deemed that the removal is our responsibility.
‘Once that is taken away, removed and disposed of the land will be able to return to its natural state.’
However, a couple of councillors were not satisfied with the decision.
Labour councillor for Town ward June Cully said: ‘It is hard to stomach that this money is being used in this way, when the budget should be used to improve allotments, not fix them.
‘If this money is spent, money needs to be put in for allotments in the next budget.’ Cllr Rob Hylands added: ‘If this is the only way to do it and we have to do it, then we really don’t have much choice.’
But Cllr Diane Furlong welcomed the move, claiming that this shows Gosport Borough Council cares about the town’s keen gardeners.
She said: ‘For this council to open up this further so that people can get out and enjoy these spaces is fantastic.
‘Other places are getting rid of their allotments while we are creating new ones.’
The motion to approve the spending was carried by Gosport Borough Council, with The Knotweed Company being brought in to dispose of the troublesome weeds.
A date for work to begin has not yet been confirmed.