RESIDENTS of the Jacks Key estate in Whitehall have been told to cut the grass between their homes and the A666 themselves by borough bosses.

A total of 101 signed a petition to Blackburn with Darwen Council asking for its staff to keep the land next to the main road tidy and stop it becoming overgrown. They felt it was important so a good impression was made on visitors.

They added the long grass could also stop children playing there, affect house prices and make the area ‘look neglected’.

But the council’s executive board rejected the call to restore grass cutting at the site, discontinued in March and ordered officials to tell petitioners they should maintain the area themselves using equipment provided through the borough’s ‘Your Call’ campaign.

However, Whitehall ward Lib Dem councillor Karimeh Foster said: “They are just passing the buck to local residents. This is the sort of thing the council should do and used to. It’s about keeping the town neat and tidy.

“This is a main way into Blackburn and Darwen and people want visitors to get a good impression. This is some way from the estate so it’s not local residents’ responsibility.”

Officers told the senior councillors the borough had been forced to make major savings in its grass cutting programmes as a result of cuts in Whitehall grants to the authority.

Their report revealed: “The land at the junction of Jacks Key estate and the A666 was taken off the grass cutting route in 2011/2012, but was added following the introduction of additional funding. Grass cutting continued at the site for 2012/13.

“No grass cutting has occurred at the site during 2013/14 (financial year which began in April). There is an opportunity for local residents to address the maintenance of the land themselves.

“The council has seen a number of community groups form, or existing groups take on maintenance of unadopted areas, via the ‘Your Call’ campaign with the council providing residents with the tools and training to undertake the work necessary.”