Anger as weeds growing outside Chichester Cathedral aren't cut back because of 'budget restraints'

A failure to cut back growing weeds outside a cathedral has been labelled ‘a scandal’ by a councillor.

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 6:17 pm
Cllr Sarah Quail and the weeds outside Chichester Cathedral

Chichester city councillor Sarah Quail, from Westgate, is also a member of the Business Improvement District (BID).

After watching the weeds slowly rise from the earth around the stumps of lime trees in West Street, she says something must be done.

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Cllr Quail said the weeds were ‘unsightly’ in a ‘key location’ – and said such a location in a ‘hollowed out’ city centre with its rising number empty shops should be tended to.

‘When I saw them I thought, this isn’t right and something ought to be done,’ she said.

She logged the issue on Love West Sussex, the portal run by West Sussex County Council for residents to report issues, and asked if something could be done.

Cllr Quail was then told by West Sussex Highways: ‘Unfortunately, due to budget constraints, we do not have the funding to carry out any work that is not safety related.’

The councillor said her reaction was one of ‘fury’.

‘Afterwards I got on to all the councillors I know – county, district and city – and they all agree: it is a scandal,’ she said. ‘I had already been liaising with the city council, and they were able to advise me that in fact, they look after the flower beds, and then alongside we have [the weed-ridden beds]. I think long-term the city does need to look at this and to seek a dowry from the district or the county to actually manage sites like this.

‘It is absolutely ludicrous.’

A West Sussex County Council spokesperson said: ‘The growth around the bottom of the tree trunks (epicormic shoots) is due to be trimmed back as part of a routine, county-wide programme involving about 3,000 trees. We have seen exceptionally wet conditions this summer, interspersed with warm/sunny weather, which has increased weed growth in the areas (‘tree pits’) in West Street where trees have been removed. We will look to clear the weeds as soon as resources allow but will also be exploring potential, medium-term solutions.’