Marple Community Forum & Noticeboard

Local Community => Local Issues => Topic started by: Steve Gribbon on June 18, 2019, 10:06:01 AM

Title: Wildflowers
Post by: Steve Gribbon on June 18, 2019, 10:06:01 AM
Good morning

There has been a lot of discussion recently on our verges and embankments that are mowed by the Council. I’m one of many who think seeding some of these areas with wildflowers and allowed to grow naturally will look great and benefit the environment (bees, ladybirds etc are attracted to such areas). I brought it up at the Area Committee meeting last Wednesday and our public realm officer is meeting me to look at possible locations.

I will update on here when I have any further details, the post is more for information to highlight something that could be taking place in the area but as ever comments are welcome should you wish to offer any.

Kind regards

Steve
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: andrewbowden on June 18, 2019, 10:30:32 AM
Apparently they've been doing this for several years in Rotherham.  Saw some lovely pictures on Twitter yesterday that demonstrated the results
https://twitter.com/britishbee/status/1138734131599351808 (https://twitter.com/britishbee/status/1138734131599351808)

Also it saves money so what's not to like?

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D82YhE5W4AA5YEE.jpg)
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: admin on June 18, 2019, 10:33:06 AM
This would be great to see happen. It was one of the suggestions made on behalf of Friends of Memorial Park during the council consultations:

Grass verges on highways would be mowed less often:
The regime adopted this year left the verges around Marple in a total mess and I don't see how it can get much worse by not doing them at all  – the verges looked scruffy when uncut but a complete disaster when they were. Is there a way that a plan to plant larger verges as wildlife meadows and progressively remove all smaller grass verges completely could be instigated to save money in the long term?

One great location to trial this would be Buxton Lane, as there are a number of very small / narrow grass verges that are a complete waste of time as far as mowing is concerned and could look fantastic if planted with wildflowers.
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: nbt on June 18, 2019, 01:24:43 PM
I agree that the verge on Station road alongside memorial park would be a perfect location for this kind of thing
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: andrewbowden on June 18, 2019, 02:29:14 PM
Quite a few bits on Hibbert Lane near Littlewoods too!
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: Howard on June 18, 2019, 02:31:24 PM
I'd be happy to see any grass verges seeded with wildflowers. On our street the council mows them three times a year max and they get unbelievably overgrown and tangled. I'd love to see them just left to grow.
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: wheels on June 18, 2019, 02:38:31 PM
Great idea Steve so long as you are happy to deal with all the complaints it will undoubtedly generate..
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: Steve Gribbon on June 18, 2019, 07:39:28 PM
Thank you for the comments so far, and I will be fine thanks Wheels, I’ve got to try and believe it’s worth the effort.

I’m meeting the public realm officer on Monday, any suggestions for potential sites would be welcome.

Kind regards

Steve
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: amazon on June 18, 2019, 09:23:50 PM
Thank you for the comments so far, and I will be fine thanks Wheels, I’ve got to try and believe it’s worth the effort.

I’m meeting the public realm officer on Monday, any suggestions for potential sites would be welcome.

Kind regards

Steve
Theres a bit of ground next to ludworth school main entrance its a mess now would be nice some wildflowers there .
e
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: ringi on June 18, 2019, 10:53:28 PM
Other then keeping "view lines" at junctions, it is a great option for next to roads.

Likewise for the grass area next to the "new" river bridge, and the grass by the woods near Marple High School.      It would also look nice in some of our parks, if grass paths were kept.  Eg use a ride on mower to create a few paths into the wild flower areas to access branches etc.

Way not include wildflower seed in the mix that is used to recover from the work on the canal lock?
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: Steve Gribbon on June 24, 2019, 05:43:11 PM
Good afternoon all who read this

We (Colin Macalister from Marple South) and I met with our public realm officer today. I was happy to hand over a lot of information regarding costings, the work required and many reasons why this would be of benefit to our area. The public realm officer was very supportive of our cause and is happy to support us, we have offered to meet anybody to push this as quickly as possible. We were both very pleased with how the meeting went. To finish we had a drive around the area highlighting just how badly maintained the verges are at present and how this would stop such bad practice.

I've done a quick video (link is below) on the subject, hopefully it demonstrates what we are after and why.

Comments as always are welcome.

Kind regards

Steve

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXBIy1NgVKE
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: jimblob on June 25, 2019, 08:48:17 AM
Had we not spent all our money on speed humps and painting disconnected stretches of cycle lanes, maybe we'd have been able to afford to mow the verges a little more often. We reap what we sow, quite literally in this case.
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: andrewbowden on June 25, 2019, 09:14:14 AM
Had we not spent all our money on speed humps and painting disconnected stretches of cycle lanes, maybe we'd have been able to afford to mow the verges a little more often. We reap what we sow, quite literally in this case.

Even if the council had all the money in the world, this would still be a great initiative.  Flowers look lovely.  They help support bees which are essential to our agriculture.  What's not to love?
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: jimblob on June 25, 2019, 11:08:12 AM
I don't disagree :)
I can well imagine though that some jobs-worth at the council will cite wild flowers as reducing visiblity at a junction and they'll then turn up with a strimmer and hack the stuff back or have to install some additional "safety" measures at the junction at a significant cost in order to mitigate the new risk.
Have to say though, having spent money on grass seed and feed as well as regularly mowing the grass verge outside my own house, I'll be annoyed if it gets seeded with wild flowers.
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: Steve Gribbon on June 25, 2019, 05:26:03 PM
I don't disagree :)
I can well imagine though that some jobs-worth at the council will cite wild flowers as reducing visiblity at a junction and they'll then turn up with a strimmer and hack the stuff back or have to install some additional "safety" measures at the junction at a significant cost in order to mitigate the new risk.
Have to say though, having spent money on grass seed and feed as well as regularly mowing the grass verge outside my own house, I'll be annoyed if it gets seeded with wild flowers.

Hi Jim

The wildflowers we are looking at and have proposed will only grow to 18-24 inches so visibility will not be impaired and cutting will not be required.

If verges are looked after by residents we will be consulting with them before any seed work is (or isn’t) done. We don’t want to cause issues where there is no need to.

Hope this helps

Steve
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: amazon on June 25, 2019, 08:34:15 PM
I don't disagree :)
I can well imagine though that some jobs-worth at the council will cite wild flowers as reducing visiblity at a junction and they'll then turn up with a strimmer and hack the stuff back or have to install some additional "safety" measures at the junction at a significant cost in order to mitigate the new risk.
Have to say though, having spent money on grass seed and feed as well as regularly mowing the grass verge outside my own house, I'll be annoyed if it gets seeded with wild flowers.
Your such a negative person allways moaning about sumat  [ and its ment to be spelt like that ]
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: jimblob on June 26, 2019, 08:59:57 AM
Your such a negative person allways moaning about sumat  [ and its ment to be spelt like that ]
I won't even deign to put my grammar police hat on for this one!
If you perhaps noticed, my opening gambit was that I agreed with the idea and thought it was a good one, merely pointing out that Stockport council (and history tells us this) might well find something they don't like about the idea and find reason to stop it dead in its tracks.
You might have also noted that as a fan of grass verges and our public realm, I spend my own time and money (on top of the not insignificant amount of council tax I pay, that Stockport seem to waste on so many things we don't need but fail to spend on the basics) maintaining the grass verge outside my house, thereby enhancing the public realm.

... sorry, I can't help myself...

You're, not your
Always, not allways
meant, not ment.
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: Howard on July 02, 2019, 10:12:45 AM
Here's an article from the BBC on the wildflower movement:
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-48772448 (https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-48772448)
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: jimblob on July 02, 2019, 10:57:59 AM
I can well imagine though that some jobs-worth at the council will cite wild flowers as reducing visiblity at a junction and they'll then turn up with a strimmer and hack the stuff back or have to install some additional "safety" measures at the junction at a significant cost in order to mitigate the new risk.

quote from the BBC article...
A slightly more modest £150 was the estimated saving made by Nottinghamshire County Council during last year's pilot.
The authority said this was because its mowing teams still needed to visit each of the six locations to trim back sections affecting motorist visibility.
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: Howard on July 02, 2019, 01:52:23 PM
quote from the BBC article...
A slightly more modest £150 was the estimated saving made by Nottinghamshire County Council during last year's pilot.
The authority said this was because its mowing teams still needed to visit each of the six locations to trim back sections affecting motorist visibility.


I'm not sure what your point is in picking out lowest number in the report. It's not just a financial benefit to us, it's the benefits to wildlife such as bees and pollinators which are suffering from lost of their natural habitats. We need to encourage these little creatures and the more natural space for them, the better.
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: amazon on July 02, 2019, 02:20:03 PM
I'm not sure what your point is in picking out lowest number in the report. It's not just a financial benefit to us, it's the benefits to wildlife such as bees and pollinators which are suffering from lost of their natural habitats. We need to encourage these little creatures and the more natural space for them, the better.
And not cut grass verges even if they are outside our property .
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: jimblob on July 02, 2019, 02:37:40 PM
And not cut grass verges even if they are outside our property .
good business for local pharmacies too, they'll sell more anti-histamines ;)
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: andrewbowden on July 02, 2019, 03:28:16 PM
good business for local pharmacies too, they'll sell more anti-histamines ;)

You'll never guess what the big problems are for summertime hayfever...

Well you might but I will pretend you won't for the purposes of effect.

Grass pollen.
https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/immune-system/hay-fever

Mowing grass causes problems as it disrupts the pollen.
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: jimblob on July 02, 2019, 04:42:23 PM
You'll never guess what the big problems are for summertime hayfever...

Well you might but I will pretend you won't for the purposes of effect.

Grass pollen.
https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/immune-system/hay-fever

Mowing grass causes problems as it disrupts the pollen.
but you only get grass pollen if it's allowed to flower, (ie it's not mowed). keep it short and there's no flower, and hence no pollen ;)
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: Howard on July 03, 2019, 11:09:54 AM
but you only get grass pollen if it's allowed to flower, (ie it's not mowed). keep it short and there's no flower, and hence no pollen ;)

Seeing as the council only mow the verge in front of my house twice a year, I'd prefer wildflowers. I do it myself now otherwise it looks like this:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/PjZNf-FNf3cC5VDHbgQog-0BHhKKBlVZS822h_ZMFCRpSJIFeN7OjMir4a3yejiWzr5qI559UbGedQ6QOiHfjUgvKGJ-HAQPK7epeq5GiF1zlGfPbVdrBa02KZHZrfTn_jlyFY6boDhjSIvEgiiX5gnmyO7BlP1qW-d_2fJX7L0fg4lunV6A1g9R4pqinoDX1_fYmzZTqk281AlOCvCAfTWMHHzkbxJpXC--9j7CPhtGMmWYVj2SH67EFAbxv5RG11zTlSR9P5HnxYYI10ss5oPP3wDrg_wmi-CxLTGYTxnSVYOukz6tCbO2oJdKeHimyo_xeOAgwotRCPcpPX7RAqE_V7XHBKZKqLzoKAqHOUynyiOOtRrkn0eI3tP0Ojk1s4dkyjVVVq9Enl-KlTsrrZP4-FfUAw62NNcCct8zTm48oJDixEkz-LW9hockIEeUQNCE9TRBCSG7RHXyzm8iS4TVN1RVcuAgu6J2TysGPUtIHjIJkHLTSUuuGHaFJs3TT1pXyE4bcXYeA4ZfyiIFu9LyK0ipkutW-jV0NqcaoiD4OV--jrzRsELNVQeYgqD9xBl8FdbJImhM9TCDXilW2SPpXAGZqIWa9OL43ziwqu8at8r2vOGUp8Q4n22FLEy4nK7SHVCA8jiSUt-B3Tyfc1K5dtK5qnE=w1703-h961-no)
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: jimblob on July 03, 2019, 01:09:46 PM
are we not missing the point here?
The initial trigger for the option to put wildflowers in grass verges is because the council only mow them (and quite poorly at that) twice a year.
However, it has been shown in other trials of this that the council then have to attend the verges (perhaps more often) when they are seeded with wildflowers because they can grow to a height that might affect vision for motorists/cyclists/pedestrians at junctions. There is therefore a negligable cost saving.
So whilst I'm not against wildflowers, they look nice.... this doesn't actually save the council any money and actualyl forces them to have attend to the verges for safety reasons rather than aesthetic ones.
I'm merely playing this from the perspective of the council and the "logic" they often apply.
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: amazon on July 03, 2019, 02:49:24 PM
but you only get grass pollen if it's allowed to flower, (ie it's not mowed). keep it short and there's no flower, and hence no pollen ;)
Hence no wildlife bees bugs buterflies ....
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: jimblob on July 03, 2019, 03:28:36 PM
Hence no wildlife bees bugs buterflies ....
My garden is full of flowers, frut trees, pollen a-plenty for the birds and the bees, not convinced lining all our roads with it is entirely necessary if it's driving objective; that being to save our incomptent council at Stockport some of OUR money isn't met.
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: Steve Gribbon on July 03, 2019, 04:26:25 PM
are we not missing the point here?
The initial trigger for the option to put wildflowers in grass verges is because the council only mow them (and quite poorly at that) twice a year.
However, it has been shown in other trials of this that the council then have to attend the verges (perhaps more often) when they are seeded with wildflowers because they can grow to a height that might affect vision for motorists/cyclists/pedestrians at junctions. There is therefore a negligable cost saving.
So whilst I'm not against wildflowers, they look nice.... this doesn't actually save the council any money and actualyl forces them to have attend to the verges for safety reasons rather than aesthetic ones.
I'm merely playing this from the perspective of the council and the "logic" they often apply.

Hi Jim, please allow me reply to this.

The initial trigger from our point of view was not due to mowing, it was because we have a vested interest in both the environment and creating something where we live. When we have met Council officers it has always been with a mutual desire to implement something positive and never once has mowing been mentioned. I can’t speak for other Councils. The initiative has not been driven by the Council, it has been done by Colin Macalister and I and we have had tremendous feedback supporting our project when we have asked people for their opinions on social media. Several hundred people have supported our updates, only one person has opposed who commented that we are not doing enough and should be out scattering seeds, I did reply to say it’s Council land so simple scattering is not an option and I want this to be done correctly.

Wildflowers can grow to various heights, we are looking at flowers with a growth of around 2 foot which will reduce the need for maintenance and also be trouble free for driving. What must be done is a splay cut which takes a foot off the side of each verge so flowers which are angled with (for example heavy rain) will not affect cyclists or pedestrians.

Nottingham saved £150 on their pilot scheme, in contrast to that Rotherham claimed savings of £25,000 on the 8 miles of wildflowers they planted so the savings are to me in line with whatever initial investment is put in.

Whilst doing my research I’ve not seen anywhere that states an increase in hay fever or the need for increased medication.

Kind regards and I hope this helps

Steve
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: jimblob on July 03, 2019, 05:06:14 PM
Hi Steve,
believe me, I do get it and I think in the right places and done well it's a great idea.

I guess my cynicism is more associated with the council than the good intentions of the proposal itself.
several years ago I complaiend to the council because the verge outside my property I'd lovingly maintained over several years (because the council hadn't!) was sprayed with herbicide by the council without any consideration as to it's condition or there being any need to do so, the net result being that my hard work (and cost) was undone in a single mindless act. On requesting that they (the council) desist from doing this in the future I was told that in fact, to mow and tend to the grass verge outside my own property I'd need to apply for a license to do so!!!  :o

Stockport council continually demonstrate an inability to think outside the box, embrace anything other than their job descriptions, but love to waste huge amounts of money (our money), usually on speed humps instead of reparing potholes.. etc etc... My responses here have merely been playing devil's advocate to the proposal based on my previous experiences with Stockport Council. Youve' seen my other correspondences with them over Rose Hill tip et al, so you know what I'm dealing with.

All I would ask, is that any approach taken is done with thought (which it certainly sounds like it is from your earlier response), and moderation, (a word sadly missing from Stockport council's vocabulary in my opinion).
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: andrewbowden on July 03, 2019, 07:05:35 PM
I guess my cynicism is more associated with the council than the good intentions of the proposal itself.
several years ago I complaiend to the council because the verge outside my property I'd lovingly maintained over several years (because the council hadn't!) was sprayed with herbicide by the council without any consideration as to it's condition or there being any need to do so, the net result being that my hard work (and cost) was undone in a single mindless act.

Interesting questions... (I don't know the answer to)

The person employed to mow things and spray herbicide...  Are they experienced gardeners, or someone who knows how to do the things they are asked to do?

And also what would the response of their bosses if it was found out they hadn't done your verge as they had been told to do?

The answers to those questions (and maybe others) may explain why your verge got treated despite your efforts.  Such is the risk with doing work on land you don't own.

Quote
On requesting that they (the council) desist from doing this in the future I was told that in fact, to mow and tend to the grass verge outside my own property I'd need to apply for a license to do so!!!  :o

Although what they said makes sense.  You fill in the paperwork, they have a record of your intent, and then they know not to do anything with the land.  Not thinking of mowing here, but planting etc...  Thinking in the context of my questions above, a "licence" (or whatever you want to call it) basically equates to a record held by the council staff.  No record anywhere means no agreement.

You may feel that is over the top.  But I am thinking here mainly of the practicalities of a council looking after hundreds of plots of land, and the administration of that.
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: amazon on July 03, 2019, 08:44:18 PM
My garden is full of flowers, frut trees, pollen a-plenty for the birds and the bees, not convinced lining all our roads with it is entirely necessary if it's driving objective; that being to save our incomptent council at Stockport some of OUR money isn't met.
You have a loverly garden whish i had one like that .
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: jimblob on July 04, 2019, 12:06:03 PM
Interesting questions... (I don't know the answer to)
You may feel that is over the top.  But I am thinking here mainly of the practicalities of a council looking after hundreds of plots of land, and the administration of that.
I'm afraid I'm more of a common sense person rather than one for bureaucracy;
one is prepared to mow some lawn that's in need of mowing, let them.
maybe indicative of the world in which we now live, paying people to oversee things but where there is no added value! nice if you can afford it.
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: andrewbowden on July 04, 2019, 07:55:21 PM
I'm afraid I'm more of a common sense person rather than one for bureaucracy;
  • If it doesn't need herbicide, don't spray it.
    If some
one is prepared to mow some lawn that's in need of mowing, let them.
maybe indicative of the world in which we now live, paying people to oversee things but where there is no added value! nice if you can afford it.

If you need enough bits of grass mowing and some spraying that it's a full time job, why employ a qualified gardener when you can employ someone to mow the grass?

And whilst you might know what needs herbicide and what doesn't, not everyone does.  I don't.  But do I know how to mow?  Hell yeah.
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: Belly on July 06, 2019, 01:10:07 PM
Some of the beaurocracy around this may, in part, be down to the Council's desire to keep control of the verge. Some people have exploited the law to maintain such verges and then, through time, to 'claim' ownership via adverse possession.

If the Council has a written record of 'maintaining' the verge themselves or agreeing under license that a local frontage property owner is doing it with theor permission, they keep control and the issue of land claims is removed.

I'm all for some wildflower planting, as long as it is maintained and encouraged properly. What happened to Dan Bank? That was supposed to be wild flower planted after the tree removal and look at the straggly mess it is now..... although I do like the recent fairy ring planting in the tree stumps (not a Council innovation I would guess!)

Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: Howard on July 06, 2019, 06:55:11 PM
Some of the beaurocracy around this may, in part, be down to the Council's desire to keep control of the verge. Some people have exploited the law to maintain such verges and then, through time, to 'claim' ownership via adverse possession.

If the Council has a written record of 'maintaining' the verge themselves or agreeing under license that a local frontage property owner is doing it with theor permission, they keep control and the issue of land claims is removed.

I'm all for some wildflower planting, as long as it is maintained and encouraged properly. What happened to Dan Bank? That was supposed to be wild flower planted after the tree removal and look at the straggly mess it is now..... although I do like the recent fairy ring planting in the tree stumps (not a Council innovation I would guess!)

You're right. That is a local retired gentleman who collects litter as well are creating and planting flower beds. He's a bit of a local celebrity in the Marple Hub Facebook Group. I believe, although I don't use it myself.
Title: Re: Wildflowers
Post by: Steve Gribbon on July 08, 2019, 04:02:25 PM
Good afternoon.

Please see the link below for the question raised to me at the full Council meeting last Thursday followed by my answer. It's at 48 minutes 45 seconds.

As ever constructive comments and opinions are welcome. Thanks for watching to those who do.

Kind regards

Steve

https://stockport.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/429267