Bees and butterflies to benefit from longer grass in some green spaces around the borough
Published on 25th June 2020
The council’s parks team together with Ubico, have been encouraging pollinating insects and wild flowers by allowing grass to grow in some areas.
This good horticultural practise has been welcomed by residents in recent years, with wild flower meadows creating colour and vibrancy at Pittville Park, Cox’s Meadow and Springfields Park.
The on-going pandemic and changes to the way staff have been able to work in open spaces has naturally created more areas of longer grass. Last month for instance, the council took part in ‘No Mow May’ in some areas of the borough when grass was left to grow to encourage bees and other pollinators and to support a different way of working due to the pandemic.
Ubico and the parks teams have worked incredibly hard throughout the crisis and changes to work practises have meant that large open spaces have been prioritised for grass cutting and general maintenance over small areas, enabling people easy access for their socially distanced daily exercise.
Hanging baskets and seasonal planting has also continued in key locations. These offer an attractive visual addition to the town and the high street, attracting people back into the town centre as part of Cheltenham’s economic recovery. The ‘Habitat Cheltenham’ project (part financed by the European Development Fund) is also creating connected green spaces and wildlife corridors of insect friendly planting in the town centre.
It is possible that some residents will notice the effect of these changes to the usual service, as their local green spaces display a more natural look, with longer grass.
Cllr Chris Coleman, cabinet member for clean and green environment said: ‘’Two metre social distancing and amended ways of working to maintain safety of staff has presented challenges in undertaking certain seasonal tasks. The planting out and hanging of flower baskets in the town centre is one such example which has proved particularly challenging, and the time taken to complete the operation has taken much longer than normal, has required the use of different equipment and utilised more members of staff. This work has continued as a priority however as it is vital for Cheltenham’s economic recovery that high footfall areas such as the town centre continue to look visually attractive.
‘’Cheltenham is known for its beautiful parks and open spaces and therefore we have also continued to prioritise our popular large green areas as we understand local residents value them, now more than ever as they go out for their daily exercise. We hope residents understand the reasons for the service changes, as well as recognising the positive impact that this will have on the environment.’’
Adam Reynolds, green space development manager added: ‘’We understand that some smaller green areas and the periphery of larger ones may look a little different to what people are used to seeing, as they grow more naturally. There are many benefits to allowing grass to grow in these areas. Longer grass and flowers provide food and homes for pollinating insects like bees and butterflies as well as other wildlife. There is also a huge environmental impact of using all of the big grass cutting machinery so this will really help to reduce our carbon footprint.’’
Usual services are expected to resume when this can be done safely and in line with government guidance.
For more information about coronavirus in Cheltenham and any service changes as a result, please visit www.cheltenham.gov.uk/coronavirus
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