THE COUNCIL has said that with patience and continued engagement between it and residents on the ground the county's 'Growing Places' policy which turns mowed open spaces into wildflower meadow, will be a success.
Asked for a progress report on the policy, the council said: ' The Growing Places policy was introduced in 2010 with the twin aims of improving biodiversity and visual interest within our parks and open spaces while freeing up some labour to carry out other essential works.
'This is a considered response to ever increasing demands on finite resources. 'A similar policy is being pursued by many British and European Local Authorities for very similar reasons. 'In order to address concerns of local residents in the areas affected by this new approach, staff from the parks division engaged in an extensive consultation at local level to determine the most appropriate way to implement this initiative on a site by site basis.
'Recognising the policy has not been always welcomed with open arms by residents, the local authority said: ' The operations department recognises that the conversion of amenity grassland into an attractive wildflower meadow takes time and a level of patience is required. ' It is also acknowledged that there is a continuous need to engage with residents to find the best fit between areas of meadow, kickabout areas and mown paths on open spaces.
'The Growing Places policy also provides an opportunity for residents to arrange bulb planting days, have additional tree planting and works carried out during the winter months and to adopt herbaceous bedding schemes at suitable locations. 'Since its introduction the new policy has proved to be a success and the council will continue to meet with local residents to address issues of concern as the need arises.' Cllr Kieran Dennison (FG), who raised the issue said he supported the policy and was sure in time that residents would embrace it once the full effects of the transformation of open spaces around of the county takes hold. Cllr Ken Farrell (Lab) agreed and said that successful executions of the policy will be used to convince those that are sceptical that Growing Places can work.