Extraordinary. I refer to the decision by East Sussex County Council to significantly reduce the frequency of verge cutting in Seaford from five times to twice yearly.
Verges not tended by adjacent homeowners received their first cut by ESCC last week by which time the grass, now two feet or more in length and seeding, proved difficult to deal with.
The result is a total mess and I suspect the cost savings all but negated by the extra work involved with cutting and clearing blocked drains.
Likely indirect health costs for treating residents exposed to excessive dust and pollen might also apply.
Did ESCC undertake a risk assessment when making the decision?
While ESCC says cost savings are due to the not inconsiderable cuts (no pun
intended) imposed by central government, it does seem unreasonable for ESCC to
have made this decision even to save, county wide, a projected £400,000 per year.
A crude calculation suggests the saving for Seaford (with around 5 per cent of the county’s population) would be £20,000.
Again based on its population and given that Seaford residents council tax contributes just under £1million of the county’s highways maintenance budget, with approximately £300,000 only being spent by ESCC on the town’s roads and verges one might be forgiven for feeling ‘disappointed’ with the lack of road repairs and the state of the verges.
Agreed these may be relatively low on ESCC’s priority list given the council’s other priorities, but is this reasonable?
One must also question central government’s wisdom for imposing such savage cuts when the foreign aid budget remains ridiculously high at £14 billion (£215 for each and every one of us) every year. For Seaford alone with a population of 25,000 that’s £5.4 million in foreign aid. The £20,000 grass cutting saving equates to just 80p for each of us. That’s 0.37% of the £215 we each contribute in foreign aid. Extrapolating beyond our verges, just think what a reduction of just 10% (£21.50 each) in foreign aid would mean for our overstretched public services. £540,000 per annum for Seaford alone. £1.4 billion pounds for the country as a whole. One does wonder whether government is working for the people who elect it, or whether there is some other driver. He that pays the piper should call the tune. Is the electorate alert to these facts and will it vote accordingly?
Cllr Dr Alan Latham
Chyngton Way ,Seaford