Councillor urges residents to help clean up neighbourhood

A county leader - who has urged angry locals to clean up overgrown public spaces themselves rather than wait for council crews - aims to launch a pilot project.

Michael Welsh told residents the idea of "community and neighbourhood involvement has a lot behind it", after gripes about the length of grass on verges.

"People who complain about their surroundings could take a constructive attitude and do more about it," said the Conservative councillor at Lancashire County Council. It was not always clear to residents who was responsible for upkeep. The county cuts verges for visibility, whereas Preston City Council cuts for amenity or "cosmetic" reasons.

Welsh said: "We should promote a joint scheme to encourage local residents to take over responsibility for their own green areas by finding volunteers."

The pilot project, which he wants enshrined in the council's local plan, would include a "mapping project" to identify target areas and responsibility.

It would involve street and estate meetings, an advisory service on how to organise people and identify leaders and competitions for best-kept areas.

"The local authority could offer limited financial help to buy or hire grass-cutters, hedge-trimmers, bins and sheds."

Neither council commented on the pilot proposal.

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