Most grass cutting is carried out by the Green Spaces team, but some larger areas, which require gang mowers, are contracted out. The grass cutting season is normally from March to October depending on the weather. Average mowing frequencies are shown here, but these may vary depending on growing conditions.
The mowing height varies from site to site depending on the use of the site and how even the surface is.
In some areas the grass is not mown during the summer for the benefit of wildlife. This is particularly important in the Old Cemetery which has areas of important species-rich grassland containing many grasses and flowers typical of the Cotswold escarpment which support a good range of invertebrates, including several notable species. For more information please see the Stroud Local Nature Reserve Management Plan 2014-2019 which has been prepared for us by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.
The Council recognises the importance of hedges as wildlife habitats and landscape features.
Whenever possible we will avoid hedge trimming during the main bird nesting period: March to July. Sometimes hedges will need to be trimmed during this period, for example where a pavement is being obstructed. When this is necessary the hedge will be carefully checked for nests before work starts.
Where appropriate hedges will be cut in late winter to give wildlife the opportunity to take advantage of the nuts and berries produced by hedge plants in the autumn.
A weed is a plant out of place. The Council is committed to undertaking grounds maintenance using methods which have minimum damaging impact on the natural environment. In keeping with this it will:
- Prevent by design. Whenever there is the opportunity to influence the design of new features or modify existing ones, control of weeds will be considered when determining materials, siting, angles etc. At all times, preference will be given to incorporating design features which will minimise weed growth. Ground covering plants will be preferred where appropriate over other types of plant.
- Prevent by maintenance. Routine maintenance such as sweeping of hard surfaces, mulching etc. will be undertaken as required, as will weeding by hoe and hand where appropriate. This policy will apply to Council staff, the areas for which the Council is responsible and to all contractors working on those areas. The Council will identify and list areas under its control where weed control is not required and amend this when circumstance or land under its control change.
- The herbicide currently (September 2015) approved for use is glyphosate (non-persistent, breaking down into neutral compounds on contract with soil). This will remain the only approved chemical until such time as it shown to be damaging to wildlife or causing environmental damage, at which time a suitable alternative will be sought. An alternative may also be sought if a different treatment is required for a specific problem where glyphosate is ineffective. The problem and possible solution will be referred to committee for approval, after taking advice from Natural England, the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency. Records of applications will be kept detailing date, area covered, operator, weather conditions.
- When it has been decided that glyphosate must be used because of the failure of 1 and 2 above to be effective, the application will be discussed with the Green Spaces Manager. At all times application will be over the minimum area possible and at the most effective time in the weed growth cycle. The use of a herbicide is the method of weed control of last resort.
- Only certified operators complying with Health and Safety legislation will be allowed to handle and use spraying equipment and herbicides.
In order to fulfil its obligations towards the public, the Council will carry out regular inspections and maintain trees in a reasonably healthy condition; this will generally include:
- Removing dead, dying, or dangerous trees;
- Removing major dead wood (over 25mm in diameter) where it overhangs private or Council property;
- Removing dangerous or damaged branches;
- Pruning branches where an actionable legal nuisance is being caused e.g. over footpaths/roads, or where there is a risk of damage to structures.
The Council does not, as a matter of routine, undertake to prune back or remove trees or overhanging branches other than for public safety or to abate an actionable nuisance. It therefore does not generally:
- Prune or fell trees to improve light to a property;
- Prune or fell trees to improve the view to a property;
- Systematically crown reduce or 'top' trees;
- Prune or fell trees with regard to seasonal nuisance (leaf letter, honey dew etc).
However, the Council wishes to act in a reasonable manner towards its neighbours and will consider requests and suggestions from residents on an individual basis. The decision will normally be taken by the Green Spaces Committee, looking at the request in the wider context, including the Council’s wish to conserve, and if possible extend, the number of trees in the town centre. In addition, the Committee will take into account the need to give priority to works identified in Tree Condition Reports and any other tree works needed for reasons of safety.
If the Green Spaces Committee agrees to the proposed work, a decision will also be taken as to whether it should be carried out at the Council’s expense or a charge made to the resident.
Flower Beds and floral displays
Bedding plants are expected in formal beds in parks and gardens. However, there is scope for more permanent planting to reduce the use of bedding plants. Where it is acceptable and possible, permanent planting will be used in preference to bedding plants.
It is now recognised that the extraction of peat for compost is causing environmental damage. The Council will not purchase or use peat-based compost.
The Council recognises its duty to conserve biodiversity, which includes maintaining, restoring or enhancing a habitat or a population of a species.
- periodically survey our green spaces to identify important species and habitats
- follow best practise with regard to cutting and removal of vegetation, for example:
i. letting grass grow longer at certain times of year and in certain places, to provide a more varied structure, encourage wild flowers, and enhance wildlife habitats, or
ii. allowing some weedy areas to provide food for birds and animals
- use only organic pesticides and fertilisers (see also Weed Control)
- reduce the amount of water we use
- time maintenance work appropriately, for example to avoid nesting or breeding seasons
- use sustainably sourced native tree and plant species in new planting wherever possible
- seek opportunities to plant edible nut and fruit trees
- in urban, formal parks planting will respect historic planting designs
- avoid the use of invasive non-native species and remove them where this is recommended
- use beneficial woodland management practices, including (where consistent with health and safety considerations) leaving dead wood on site
- seek, through long-term planning, to enhance the biodiversity value of sites
- promote public access, interpretation and involvement in our sites to raise public awareness of biodiversity issues.
- lead by example - well managed sites can demonstrate the positive role of site management to businesses, other organisations and the general public.
- integrate biodiversity into staff training.
- seek expert advice when needed; for example from Natural England or Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.
Bins and benches
We will provide and maintain an adequate supply of benches and waste bins (litter and dog waste) on our sites to meet demand.
Dog mess is a continual and unpleasant problem which we seek to discourage. We will continue to work with Stroud District Council’s Dog Warden to encourage owners to clean up after their dogs.
Memorial benches and plaques
We welcome donations of memorial benches for use in Park Gardens, Bank Gardens and the Old Cemetery, subject to the following conditions:
- Memorial seats will be of a design consistent with those already in each location, i.e. olive green metal in the cemetery, traditional cast iron and timber in Bank and Park Gardens.
- Although the Council recognises that it will be receiving a significant benefit, no contribution will be made to the provision of memorial seating, however, we will undertake
- the installation and maintenance.
- While every effort will be made to accommodate the wishes of the family in choosing the site of the seat, the final decision will rest with the Council.
- As the seats are installed in public areas, the Council accepts no liability for damage to or loss of the seat.
Memorial plaques provided by the family may be affixed by our staff to the rails in the Garden of Remembrance on payment of the appropriate fee.
Flying of Drones on Council Lands
We would like to draw your attention to the Civil Aviation Authority’s DroneCode which provides safety advice on the flying of drones for recreational purposes.
The code says that drones should not be flown within: 150ft (50m) of people and properties or 500ft (150m) of crowds and built up areas.
This means that the parks and other sites that we own are generally not suitable for the flying of drones because they are too close to buildings and/or too busy with visitors to make the flying of drones safe.
For the safety of our staff and other site users please follow the DroneCode. Anyone flying drones on Council sites in breach of this code will be reported to the CAA.
Please note that the flying of drones weighing more than 20kg or used for commercial purposes requires CAA permission.
Statement on Clearing of Ice and Snow in Stroud Town
Gloucestershire Highways’ contractors are responsible for salting the primary routes in the Town. When conditions require and resources permit they will also salt the secondary routes. Click here for more information.
Stroud Town Council maintain a limited supply of salt which can be used by our staff only when specifically requested by Gloucestershire Highways. We regret to advise that we are not able to distribute supplies of the salt to members of the public.
Gloucestershire County Highways’ policy is to fill all approved grit bins before the winter season. When we are experiencing snow and prolonged periods of cold weather Gloucestershire Highways priority has to be to keep the gritters on the road to clear the strategic network. Unfortunately, Gloucestershire Highways do not have the resource to be able to refill grit bins during the season. With sensible use, a full grit bin should last through the winter.
New grit bins are not provided by Gloucestershire Highways, however bins can be provided by the local parish or town councils if the location is agreed in writing by Gloucestershire Highways. Bins shall only be located at strategic points on steeper inclines and on some tight bends or if there are significant levels of pedestrian usage. Grit bins will only be provided on key routes in exceptional circumstances. Grit bins on secondary routes may be provided at key locations if deemed appropriate and subject to the criteria. Please contact highways in the first instance to check that your location meets their criteria.
Town Council Sites
In the event of icy or snowy weather the following paths on town council sites will be cleared and salted if it is safe and reasonable to do so.
- Bank Gardens – all through routes from St Laurence Churchyard to Lansdown
- Park Gardens – all through routes
- St Laurence Churchyard – a direct through route from the Shambles and Church Street to Bank Gardens
Please note that grit is for use on public highways only and should not be used for paths and driveways on private property.
Further info about staying safe in cold weather can be found at the following websites;