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Response to Maintenance of Open Spaces Consultation

Cheshire East Council are currently consulting on on their maintenance of Green Spaces across the Borough - this includes parks, sports fields, open spaces between housing, cemeteries and more.

Their draft policy is focusing on how these areas will be maintained going forward e.g the number of times the grass will be cut per year. There are some quite significant changes being proposed.

The deadline for responses is 24th November.

For all the information around this consultation please click on the following link:

Holmes Chapel Parish Council is responding to object to these proposals and has provided an alternative suggestions for maintenance of our green spaces. Our response is outlined below:

"Holmes Chapel Parish Council has resolved to respond to Cheshire East’s Green Space Maintenance Consultation and to OBJECT to the proposals for changing how the Green Spaces within Holmes Chapel Parish would be maintained.

Green spaces within the parish, if not properly maintained will leave the village looking unsightly. We note that Cheshire East Council have the desire, backed by current policy to promote healthy living (“Green Spaces for Wellbeing”). Negligent maintenance of these areas will leave them looking unkempt and uncared for. This will impact those aims of improving health, encouraging bio-diversity and promoting wellbeing, thereby destroying a great deal of what Cheshire East Council says it stands for in its published policies and website.

In addition, the report appears to have been compiled without site visits to the relevant areas or any understanding of the key characteristics of our village. This has led to a high number of the open spaces within the report being incorrectly classified. This means the report is highly flawed and cannot be taken as a true and accurate record. See Appendix 1 for how Holmes Chapel Parish Council believes they should be classified and maintained.

As part of our response to this consultation, we have looked at the green spaces which ANSA maintain and considered what we would regard as a minimum maintenance level. Holmes Chapel has a population of around 7000 and therefore the centre and immediate surroundings are urban rather than rural. Consequently, many of the green spaces are surrounded by houses and are often only small spaces. Leaving these as wild areas, which would be the consequence of one mow per year, is not considered acceptable for small plots within housing developments.

We accept that large spaces could be treated differently allowing at least part of the site to be mowed less frequently. However even these need to be mown more frequently at the boundaries where they meet footpaths in order to maintain a usable footpath width. Thus, in our view, a band at least 1 metre wide would need regular mowing along these edges even if the remainder was left longer between cuts.

A further concern regarding infrequent cuts of once or twice a year, in urban areas, is how you deal with the mowings. We accept that with frequent cutting the mowings do not need collecting. However, if you treat the area as a meadow and cut only once or twice you will have to collect the grass or the area will look unkempt and the grass cuttings will be a nuisance to residents. We need to know how you will deal with grass cuttings if you propose only one or two cuts for the urban smaller spaces of greenery around the village.

We have looked at all the ANSA sites and the table in Appendix 1 indicates how we believe they could be treated to reduce costs and maintain an acceptable standard of workmanship. You will find, contrary to your proposals, we consider most of the areas on the list in need of regular cutting through the growing season. Often the sites do not lend themselves to uniform maintenance across the site as your categories imply. Part may be suitable as meadow but the remainder will require higher levels of maintenance because of the use or location of the site. A zoning approach to those areas would be more appropriate and Holmes Chapel Parish Council is happy to work with you to create a suitable scheme for such areas.

We also note that there are many other green areas around the village which are maintained by CEC Highways. These are obviously along our highways but are often within a few metres of the ANSA sites. We question the logic of having two contractors handling these types of green space independently. If one team has the equipment on site why don’t they deal with all the similar sites and reduce costs that way?

In conclusion, rather than compiling a report without due consideration of each area of the village, Cheshire East Council should engage and consult with the local town and parish councils to discuss the green spaces in each area to create a sustainable solution that will enhance the green spaces of the borough rather than destroy them and by doing so, negatively impact the wellbeing of our residents."

Appendix 1 (a hard copy of the below images can be requested from the Clerk)


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