Plans for a wildflower meadow on a well-used Aberdeen green have been branded a “nonsense”, as residents worry it will end up a fly-tipping blackspot and a “wasteland”.
Grass has been left to grow to seed in the open patch of land between Raeden Crescent, Midstocket Road and North Anderson Drive.
Nettles and dock leaves have also sprouted up, with the council electing to mow only a couple of 6ft-wide paths into the thicket, as well as one flat area about the size of half a football pitch.
It has left the children living nearby without much ground to play on and dog walkers struggling to find and tidy up their pets’ mess lost in the rough.
Resident: ‘If you want a country scene, do something about it’
Allan Lovie, whose Raeden Place home looks out onto the burgeoning jungle, first thought the lack of maintenance was down to staff focusing on the coronavirus effort.
Having first seen grass cutting axed last year, he had expected it to begin this year – and was left baffled when told the ground was to be left for wildflowers.
“If it were cutbacks or costs, even if they said they were doing only necessary work, it would make some sort of sense,” he said.
“But to come out with some rhyme that they are wanting to grow wildflowers is just a nonsense. If you want to make a country scene, you have to do something about it, do it properly.
“What’s the point? Why stop maintaining an area that looked really nice, tidy, had kids playing, people walking dogs and others just out enjoying the sun.
“There is virtually nowhere for children to go now.”
Mr Lovie has called for the council to provide a playpark or football pitch for the local youngsters, instead of taking away their playground.
And the long grass poses issues in cleaning up after the numerous dogs walked in the leafy spot.
He added: “Owners go in to the long grass and cannot even find the mess.
“It’s disgusting, especially with kids running through this space.
“It is just going to end up a tip, and beds and fridges are just bound to start being dumped there.
“It just looks like wasteland and already someone has dumped a mattress here, which has never happened before.”
His 82-year-old neighbour, Cecilia Mather, said it was “so frustrating” and the area had been left in an “absolute mess”.
She said residents in the quiet little street were worried as no one could predict “what the council will do next”.
Wildflower meadows are part of council’s climate change plan
Council chiefs have plans to sow wildflower meadows across large public green spaces in an effort to improve the local authority’s environmental impact.
Along with tree planting and creating new wetlands, the planting forms part of their climate change plan 2025.
But Midstocket and Rosemount SNP councillor Bill Cormie said, while there were many areas this should happen in Aberdeen, the land in question “is not one of them”.
He added: “This is the only green space families with small children have and it is too far for younger ones to walk down to Westburn or Victoria Parks.
“Dog owners are struggling to clear up after their pets and if kids are running about in there, they will be clarted in it.
“It is not the dog owners’ fault that the weeds are so high that they cannot possibly see it.
“I would hope that, given the number of residents quite rightly complaining, that lessons are learned and we revert back to cutting all the grass.”
Leading councillor: Dog walkers ‘thwarting’ efforts to improve public spaces
But last night, council operations convener Philip Bell defended the move in Raeden and rounded on the dog walkers left scouring the tall grass for mess for “thwarting” the local authority’s work.
The Conservative councillor said: “It is unfortunate the council’s aims to bring additional quality to areas used by the public is being thwarted by dog walkers who refuse to pick up after their animals.
“There is never any excuse for fly-tipping.
“You will agree that the current pandemic has opened our eyes to the quality of our surroundings, the amazing job that pollinators play in the connected world and the ecology associated with carbon sequestration.
“In addition to these observations, an area has been cut for recreational purposes and paths have also been cut to connect all areas.
“The paths were defined by following the tracks that were made by the public.
“If the paths and recreational areas are not in the areas so defined can I suggest that Councillor Cormie determines where areas are used and then talks to officers accordingly which is, as he well knows, what councillors normally do.”