The weeds are taking over! Cutbacks in spraying in Hampshire lead to outbreak of unwelcome plants ‘tearing up the pavements’

The Highlands Road junction with the A27 in Fareham is one of many areas affected by weeds. Picture: Fareham Borough Council
The Highlands Road junction with the A27 in Fareham is one of many areas affected by weeds. Picture: Fareham Borough Council
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PAVEMENTS are being broken, drains are being blocked and streets are looking a mess after Hampshire County Council cut back on tackling weeds on the streets.

The county council has halved its spraying schedule to one visit a year to save costs – causing weeds to grow unchecked across the region.

Gosport Borough Council has already committed  £46,000 a year to tackling weeds, spraying at least three times a year, to bring overgrown areas under control.

Now, other councils are protesting about the long-term damage this will cause to the streets.

Leader of Gosport Borough Council Cllr Mark Hook said: ‘It’s regrettable that Hampshire County Council now only seem to be spraying once a year. This has created the problem that now exists.

‘We recognise that visually, it’s unacceptable, and affects civic pride.

‘We want our borough to look as good as possible, but this lets us down, so we’re taking steps to get on top of the situation.’

Deputy council leader Cllr Graham Burgess said: ‘We’ve shown our commitment to tackling weeds and residents will have noticed we’ve already started work.

‘We can’t get everywhere straight away but everywhere in the borough will be dealt with.’

In Fareham, weeds have been causing damage to pavements and clogging drains – which council leader Cllr Sean Woodward says proves Hampshire County Council’s scheme is a ‘false economy.’

He said: ‘This is having an impact all around the county.

‘We had a motion at our last full council meeting to protest against this happening – it will cost more in the long term because it’s tearing up the pavements and the drains are being blocked, and it will cost more money to repair.

‘We are raising concerns with the county council but we have no plans to invest our own money into it yet.’

The News’ gardening expert Brian Kidd says that he feels sorry for councils that are having to step in.

He said: ‘I feel sorry that the councils have to do more work with less money.

‘Something that can help is if local residents do their bit to look after their area – just getting outside and hoeing the driveway and path in front of you can help. Taking them out before they flower stops them spreading.’