19th Sep, 2019

Japanese knotweed outbreak on Droitwich allotments will cost councils £4,000 and take years to fix

Harry Leach 4th Jul, 2019

A JAPANESE knotweed outbreak at Westwood Lodge Allotments will cost £4,000 to clear and is likely to take several years to complete.

Members of Droitwich Town Council’s community and amenities committee expressed their disappointment at Monday’s meeting after being told Wychavon District Council would not fund the entire eradication and the two councils would pay £2,000 each.

Members argued because the incredibly invasive weed started growing on Wychavon-owned land before spreading to the Briar Mill site, the district council should foot the bill.

Coun Bob Brookes said: “We will find ourselves liable if we do not act quickly on this.

“But I admit I am very disappointed Wychavon has come back with this decision despite our specialists determining it came from their land first.”

He said he felt the town council should take legal action against Wychavon to get the district council to foot the bill.

Other members did not share that view but expressed their dismay at the decision.

Coun Kathleen Fellows said: “There’s no doubt it’s an absolute nightmare, but I don’t think threatening Wychavon with legal action will help anyone.”

Coun Nathan Griffiths suggested the town council paid for the clean-up now but claimed the cash back from Wychavon later, once it had been resolved.

Coun Alex Sinton and Coun Richard Morris will raise the concerns at a meeting between the two councils on Monday, July 8.

Coun Morris said: “I don’t know what the solution will be but the best thing we can do is work together.

“It’s public money at the end of the day.

“I’m not interested in getting into a debate over who owns what land or who is responsible for the outbreak.

“It just needs to be sorted.”

Wychavon District Council told the Standard the land belonged to both councils.

Jonathan Hulbert, Wychavon’s senior parks and green space officer, said: “We have assessed the site and arranged for a specialist contractor to start the treatment of the weed as quickly as practical, a process that will take between three and five years in total.

“We’re happy to split this cost accordingly with the town council but each landowner is responsible for the eradication on their respective land.”

Japanese Knotweed spreads quickly and can damage the foundations and structures of buildings.

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