Tender problems affect Leighton Sports Centre

Westbury Cricket Club feels it is let down by Wiltshire Council. Confusion about who is responsible for maintaining the outside of the boundary, has resulted in the surrounding areas not having been cut for over six weeks.
Local resident, Stephen Pyne, Gordon Gill who maintains the cricket pitch and Neil Hawker chair of Westbury & District Cricket Club, have all raised the issue.  The facility is managed by Places for People Leisure on behalf of Wiltshire Council. It was believed that it was the council’s responsibility, via contractors Idverde, to maintain the grass area which once included the cricket pitch. 
The cricket club took over the contract of the cricket pitch earlier this year and tendered it to Gordon Gill, who had previously been maintaining the pitch for many years, due to Idverde not tendering it correctly. Now, due to the exchange in contracts, there is confusion as to whose responsibility it is to maintain outside of the boundary. 
Resident of Leighton Green, Stephen Pyne, said “My garden backs on to Leighton Sports Centre and I used to quite often let my grandchildren run around the field and they loved it. Now, the grass is too long. 
“It’s letting Westbury down. The visiting teams for the cricket come expecting to play on a decent pitch, it’s claimed to be the second best in Wiltshire after Trowbridge, but they are met with overgrown grass and weeds.
“The area is also very popular with dog walkers but they are beginning to walk on the cricket pitch due to it being mowed, avoiding the long grass.
“If Wiltshire Council can’t afford to cut it, give the whole contract to the cricket club so they can maintain the grass, it’s at least ankle deep.” 
Gordon Gill, of Gill’s Fine Turf and Maintenance, who is contracted to cut the cricket circle up to, and not beyond, the boundary said, “The outside grass has not been cut for at least six weeks. It’s a disgrace and is going on, and on. Not only is it affecting the cricketers, embarrassing the club when visitors come to play, but dog walkers are struggling to pick up their dogs’ mess. 
“The grass is so long that owners can’t find where their dog has gone to the toilet, therefore leaving it – causing other people to step in it. I’ve emailed the council about it – sent quotes of what it would cost me to do it, yet had no response.” 
Neil Hawker, club chairman at Westbury & District Cricket Club said, “The cricket club paid for a one-off cut in April, which cost us GBP 100, because it was getting so long and we needed it sorted before the start of the season. 
“The problem is, we play in a high league. The umpire only gives us a certain amount of time to bowl our overs. However, some of that time is wasted by players having to go searching for the ball in the long grass. This loses us points and could cost us games. 
“It is now going to cost more to sort the problem as we have spoken to contractors who say that it will need to be done in two stages due to its length. Once, to take the top off and again to take the rest. If it is done in one go, the grass will suffocate and turn yellow.”
Keith Brunsden, general manager at Leighton Sports Centre said, “Places Leisure operate Leighton Recreation Centre on behalf of and in partnership with Wiltshire Council.
“Within our partnership, Places Leisure manage a contractor to deliver the specification laid out by Wiltshire Council to ensure club level cricket can be played on the facility on a weekly basis.”
 

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