Townsfolk encouraged to give longer grass a chance

The former Melrose railway station.
The former Melrose railway station.
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Melrose councillors are urging townsfolk to give Scottish Borders Council’s new grass-cutting regime a chance before bringing in private contractors.

Melrose Community Council debated at its May meeting whether a private firm should be brought in to carry out additional cuts, in between the council’s 20-day routine ones, amid fears tourism will suffer as a result.

Pushing to see this in place sooner rather than later, vice-chairwoman Valerie Miller said: “It’s cutback, cutback, cutback, and it’s reflecting badly on the town.

“We have paid our rates, so we will be paying twice for this service.

“It’s all being flung back on us, but we need to do something.

“I don’t know what tourists are going to think if flowerbeds are nothing special, the bins are old or broken and the streets are not clean.”

Other community councillors agreed it would be best not to rush into making changes until they can “see how bad it looks”.

Leaderdale and Melrose councillor Tom Miers said: “Whenever we see a change, it is human instinct to see it being for the worst.

“Give it time and sometimes things aren’t the problem you think they were.”

“The basic problem is not how long grass should be but how the council finance it.

“It’s like being in a bath with an elephant from a grass-cutting point of view.”

Fellow councillor David Parker added: “This is not something that the council is doing uniquely. It’s happening across the country.

“Part of the move here is being driven by those concerned about biodiversity.

“There’s people here in Melrose who have argued this over the years.”

The community council agreed to consult both Melrose Parish Church and the town’s bowling club for their thoughts.