Pretty wildflower footpath destroyed by council-contracted strimming team

Native wildflowers which have been nurtured for years by a Swansea woman have been strimmed by mistake by council contractors.

Jackie Coates, of Limeslade, said she was “incensed” that the normally “flower-rich and glorious footpath” running along the back of Mumbles Cricket Club had been reduced to “a sea of green wreckage”. A Swansea Council spokesman said the authority was as disappointed as local residents and had spoken to its contractors to avoid any repeat.

Mrs Coates said she had managed the 200m stretch of Sheepie Lane for the last four years to preserve and enhance its biodiversity. Key to this, she said, was not strimming in late spring to allow the likes of campions, bluebells and stitchwort to bloom and also to re-seed, thereby ensuring a rich and varied growth the following year.

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Mrs Coates said: “The agreement is that we manage excessive plant growth on the path until, post-flowering, the second strim of the season can safely take place. The council can also save money by not undertaking the first strim. In recent years the flowers had been making a slow but noticeable comeback. This year it has been cut before some of the flowers have even come into flower due to the late spring.”

Mrs Coates said she believed the council officer with whom the agreement had been made had left his job, but that she had spoken to another officer about it. She also said she wrote to the parks and highways department annually to ensure the arrangement continued.

Mrs Coates has complained to the council about last week’s strimming and asked what it was doing to maintain and enhance biodiversity, which is one of the organisation’s key well-being objectives. She also claimed that she had spotted contractors in the footpath area previously in late spring and had intervened to prevent any untimely strimming.

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The council spokesman said: “The council is as disappointed as local residents that this path has been cleared as it was not scheduled for cutting until mid-July. We have spoken with our contractors to avoid any repeat and we will look to help restore the area by putting in native wildflower plug plants which our nature conservation team will discuss with residents.

“While we have a legal duty to keep paths clear and useable, we have worked in partnership with residents at this site and we are grateful to them for their involvement and their shared commitment to biodiversity.”

WalesOnline – Swansea