Harrogate streets full of ‘rampant’ weeds as council admits to budget constraints

David Siddans with the weed problem on Beckwith Crescent, Harrogate.'Picture: Gerard Binks
David Siddans with the weed problem on Beckwith Crescent, Harrogate.'Picture: Gerard Binks

Residents complaining about what they say is the rampant growth of weeds on some Harrogate streets have found themselves in a blame game between different local authorities.

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The concerns have been raised by members of HAPARA (Harrogate and Pannal Ash Residents Association) who claim grass and weeds are flourishing in the gutters in the Pannal Ash area, in particular.

David Siddans of HAPARA said: “People I have spoken to can’t remember seeing a road sweeping vehicle cleaning the channels for quite some time.

“I guess the priority is the principal roads rather than residential streets.

“But that leaves the environment in a poor state.”

As well as adding to the feeling that Harrogate as a town is facing challenges, residents are concerned that the weeds could potentially impede surface water run off and drainage at times of flooding.

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As to the cause of the issue, HAPARA said it has approached both North Yorkshire County Council and Harrogate Borough Council.

But it seems the matter is not entirely straightforward.

Both local authorities intitially responded that responsibility for the weeds lay with the other.

A spokesperson for Harorgate Borough Council said North Yorkshire County Council was responsible for killing weeds and cleaning gullies/drains for water run-off from the highway.

The spokesperson said the council’s street cleaners had noticed the gutters becoming increasingly clogged up. Now the county council has admitted that cost priorities meant it had actually reduced the amount of staff time devoted to weeding.

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Melisa Burnham, North Yorkshire County Council’s area highways manager, said: “We take pride in the presentation of the street scene, but our priority and available budgets must remain focused on safety.

"We have recently changed our approach to the treatment of weeds, which has seen a reduction in the number of treatments each year. Any weed growth interfering with drainage and water run-off from the highway would be picked up by our highways officers and addressed.

“Treatment is weather-dependent, but our contractors have assured us that Pannal Ash and Harlow will be treated this week, beginning July 22.”