ANGRY residents have slammed an “outrageously cheeky” community scheme to get them to clear their streets of stubborn weeds for free.
Brighton and Hove City Council is urging taxpayers to become voluntary ‘weed warriors’ instead of hiring people to do the work.
The participants have to devote several hours of their time to grappling with the overgrown vegetation in the coastal city.
They must also attend a training session and bring their own safety vest and gloves, says the Green-led local authority.
An angry local, Marlene Brown, said: “I think it’s a cheek.
“Anything else we should do while we’re at it? Remind me what do we actually pay council taxes for?”
Ross Czolak, who also lives in the area, said: “Let’s get people to volunteer for the work they pay council taxes for.
“Trying to use ‘community’ actions to also reduce those roles that these services should be paid for through council tax as a cost reduction.”
Rob Arbery added: “It’s incredible. What’s next, ‘pothole patrols’?
“Most of us weed outside of our homes, but we pay council taxes to ensure this is all done in other areas of the city.
“Certainly we can all sort something out in the May election.”
A statement on the council’s website is asking residents to “cut back weeds across the city” ahead of the summer rush.
“Our beaches are getting busier with residents and tourists, our parks are becoming colorful with budding trees and blooming flowers, and sadly, weeds are starting to fill our streets,” it adds.
Volunteers were invited to attend a launch event for Weed Warrior, which took place on March 17th.
However, the local authority faced a huge backlash when it asked for support on something people believe should be covered by the council tax.
Tony Lees said: “What a cheek. How much council tax can I get back?’
Karen French echoed it, adding: “You have the nerve to ask for volunteers.
“If they want to take my full-time job while I do their work, I might consider it.”
And David Vincent, who lives alone in Hove and pays £1,235.68 a year council tax, said: “It was a shock to see the announcement.
“Next, they want volunteers to clean the public toilets.
“As a municipal taxpayer, it is not a resident’s position to do the work of the municipality. This was always done by our city administration.
“We know we are in tough times, but this is beyond reproach.
“I have no problem with what I pay in council taxes, but getting residents to do this work for free is just not hip.”
Having the gall to ask people to do it just shows the attitude of this council. It’s really shocking.
Locals pay an average of £2,119 a year in council tax, part of which is intended to cover weed control costs.
The council insists its “hardworking” Cityclean team weeds in the spring and summer, but the “labour-intensive nature of manual weeding means some areas can become overgrown”.
A spokesman added: “Volunteers will work together to remove weeds in problem areas by performing weed management and vegetation control tasks.”
Laura King called the scheme “absolute insanity”.
“Are you kidding?” she foamed.
“How can they expect residents to go out and start doing work that the community is obligated to provide – especially when it’s covered by the community tax?
“Having the gall to ask people to do it just shows the attitude of this council. It’s really shocking.”
Visually impaired and registered pensioner Nigel Furness agrees the problem needs to be fixed, but not by people like him.
He said: “Trying to negotiate potholes and poorly maintained paths in Brighton and Hove is bad enough, but when you’ve had a weed infestation it gets treacherous.
“The council seems to have shied away from its responsibilities to the public and the failure to weed the pavements is a major problem for disabled and elderly people.
“There’s a legal obligation to maintain the freeways and sidewalks, and if they don’t do that, they’re in violation.”
“ARE YOU KIDDING?
Pensioners and disabled residents reportedly required hospital treatment after tripping over weeds on the sidewalks.
Businesses have also lashed out at the city council, claiming that the vegetation makes the area look “shabby” and is bad for the city’s image.
Dean Redmond said: “Wheelchair users, the visually impaired and the elderly are rightly upset about the council’s failure to maintain the sidewalks and roads.
“This is discriminatory and wrong and the Greens need to start paying attention to what people really want.
“I would also like to ask them if they ask people to take to the streets with trowels, hoes and pruning shears, if one of their volunteers is injured they are themselves insured.”
The council insists its “Weed Warriors” will help make streets, tweets and other public spaces “more attractive to visitors and residents”.
In 2019, the local authority stopped using glyphosate, a harmful herbicide, to control weeds on the streets.
Instead, officials invested in a small vehicle to clear street weeds and said they would hire additional staff to join the street cleaning team.
Councilor Elaine Hills, Co-Chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said at the launch of the program: “We recognize how important it is for our residents to avoid using pesticides to remove weeds, which is why our roads have been glyphosate-free since 2019.
“We have had difficulty recruiting street cleaning jobs in recent years and Cityclean is doing everything they can to remove weeds.
“The Weed Warrior program will help us keep up with demand for manual weeding during the spring and summer months.
“Alongside the Weed Warrior community events, volunteers can also get involved by becoming a Weed Warrior in their area.
“We hope the program will provide residents with an opportunity to learn new skills, be more active, get around the city and find new places to explore.
“You’ll also have the opportunity to meet new people who are all just as passionate about our beautiful city as you are.”
Brighton and Hove City Council has been asked for an opinion on the complaints.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/7662385/cheeky-council-weed-warriors-scheme-brighton/ We’re furious after our outrageously cheeky council asked us to clear stubborn weeds for free instead of paying workers