Tucked away in my briefing notes this week was a letter for information from the Highway Network Manager, the information being passed on was that in future the Highways Department would not be carrying out general weed treatment i.e. spraying with herbicide.
That’s the normally a pair of workers who you see about spraying the area between the road and pavement stopping the weeds growing in this area.
Now in the grand scheme of things, this may not seem that important, but if you just think about it, uncontrolled weeds lining every urban roadside, I fancy not the most pleasant sight.
If anything is guaranteed to insure an area looks rundown, uncared for, desolate that is going to be it.
Cornwall Council, go on to say if any Town or Parish Council wish to take on this service they can, but at the Town Councils own cost.
Currently some Towns do this work on an agency agreement with Cornwall Council who pay them £160.61 per km. these agreements will also end.
I do not know how many kilometres of urban streets there are in Penzance town councils area, but I am sure it’s a lot.
£160.61 per km at first glance seems a lot, but I’m sure that when Cornwall Council signed these agreements they did the sums and paid less than it was costing them. Taking on extra staff, training (have to be qualified to work within the highway), vehicles, risk assessments etc. I can see that this will not be a cheap operation.
If Town & Parish councils want to take this work on or contract it out, and which wouldn’t, the money to pay for it has to come from somewhere.
Town & Parish councils are not awash with money, as more and more services are discontinued by Cornwall Council, whatever happened to ‘economy of scale’ on which Cornwall Council was formed, money available to do the things that people enjoy rather than just need will be eaten into, in Penzance budgets for the likes of Christmas Lights, Golowan, Art Gallery & Museum and many other events that make our town what it is, will be impacted upon and life a little sadder for it.