The town council should ensure that future contractors hired to keep Gillingham clean should be made fully aware of the need to control weeds that are being left ‘untouched’ in parts of the town centre, councillors have been told.
Councillor Mike Gould told fellow members of the council earlier this month of his concern about the prevalence of weeds in some areas, which detract from the appearance of the town.
He told December’s meeting of the full council: ‘Weeding is an emotive subject. If you go round certain parts of town the weeds are growing furiously. We have these pockets of weeds in the town currently which are never touched.’
Councillor Gould was speaking during a debate over the council’s plans to invite tenders for a new cleaning contractor for the town from April. He wanted to ensure that the new service provider was fully aware of the town’s sensitivity over the issue.
Town clerk Julie Hawkins said the people who tendered for the contract would be taken around the town and shown the areas that require weeding.
‘We are going to weed the majority of places,’ she told councillors.
However, councillors heard that there are complications over who is responsible for weeding in some locations; kerbside weeds are the responsibility of the highways department at Dorset Council, while weeds growing in front of buildings are usually the responsibility of the property’s owners.
Councillor Barry Von Clemens said he agreed that the weeds looked ‘awful’. But he added: ‘We do have to be mindful that this is private property in some aspects, and that the council can’t just march onto private property.’
He said he would be raising the issue at the next meeting of the town’s Chamber of Commerce to make any business owners with weeds in front of their premises aware of the issue.
Any business wanting information about the tender process can contact the council via [email protected].