Gareth Hurd’s wildflower meadow was reduced to handfuls of cut grass (Picture: Solent News)
Hapless council contractors went to mow, went to mow a meadow – they just didn’t realise it was an award-winning community space.
Leaving brambles and dandelions untouched, the workmen ignored warning signs and laid waste to the pretty patch of wildflowers.
Gareth Hurd, 36, turned the ‘waste ground’ next to his home in Alton, Hampshire, into the Butts Community Garden last year.
Neighbours adored the ‘beautiful’ meadow, watching in delight as the flowers bloomed in spring, attracting bees and other pollinators.
But all of Mr Hurd’s hard work was ironically blitzed during the council’s ‘No Mow May’ initiative, which urged homeowners not to cut their grass throughout spring.
The conservation worker said it has set him back five years’ worth of progress.
‘The space is intended to show what you can do in your garden which is more environmentally friendly,’ he said.
‘But the side that is good for the environment was flattened.
The beloved meadow was so beautiful it won an award (Picture: Alton Town Council)
All that remains of a once glorious wildflower meadow (Picture: Solent News)
‘It’s an understandable mistake from a contractor’s point of view. You’ll be damned if you don’t do what your boss tells you.
‘But it is very disappointing. We spent ages going through all the paperwork, licensing and signage. I thought lots of wooden posts would have given them a clue.’
The meadow won the Pollin-8 award from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust last year in recognition of its help for butterflies, voles and toads who thrive off the leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds.
Neighbour Rick Luke said: ‘There were beautiful flowers and on the other side of the road, the bank is full of dandelions, rough grass, ivy and brambles and they haven’t mowed that.
Gareth Hurd has been set back five years by the hapless council contractor (Picture: Solent News)
‘They’ve gone and mowed this nice little garden. One side now looks like a complete and utter eyesore – they’ve left a clump of weeds. It just didn’t make any sense.’
East Hampshire District Council apologised for the blunder and launched an investigation.
A spokesperson said: ‘We are deeply upset to hear the community garden was cut in error. We will be investigating this and taking the necessary steps to prevent it happening again.
‘In the meantime, we are writing to the group to apologise and to offer to re-seed the land with wild-flowers ourselves.’
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