'PUBLIC outrage, confusion and anger' over the council's controversial policy to let some of the county's previously manicured green spaces grow into wildflower meadows has led to a call for the local authority to abandon the policy.
The call came from Cllr. May McKeon (NP), who tabled a motion to council management which stated: 'Given the public outrage, confusion and anger at the council's grass cutting programme, 'Growing Places', and the discontent and abuse directed to the elected representatives in this regard, this council call on management to reassess their policy of grass cutting, particularly in the area of housing estates, small open spaces and grass verges'. The council said it had learned lessons from the piloting of the programme and was reassessing the management of open spaces, particularly smaller ones. It explained why the Growing Places policy had been introduced, saying: ' The Growing Places approach is designed to change the maintenance regimes for turf grass where usage patterns do not demand short mown grass. This is to align the maintenance load with available resources.' Commenting on how the policy had been implemented so far, the council said: 'Many lessons have been learned from this pilot programme. 'The council is currently reassessing the management and maintenance of all open spaces throughout the county which includes grass cutting in housing estates, small open spaces and grass verges. 'These are being reviewed as part of the development of an Open Space Strategy a report which will be brought to the members later this year.' The council said: 'With a reduced labour resource the council is not in a position to continue to maintain almost 5,000 acres of open space as short mown turf grass.' But it acknowledged: 'As learned in Growing Places it is difficult to move to a meadow type maintenance regime on smaller open spaces.' On the maintenance of sports pitches, the council said it would 'continue to maintain sports pitches to the 'Fit for Purpose' performance quality standard developed by the Institute of Groundsmanship'. Regarding the maintenance of roadside margins the Fingal Citizen Charter states that the council expects businesses and homeowners to maintain the grassed roadside margin by their premises. The council said is exploring more productive ways of maintaining the grassed roadside margins on distributor roads.