Cricket weedkiller incident costs local taxpayers more than £13k

Hazardous chemicals on the cricket square at Baileys Court.

The unexplained incident that resulted in Bradley Stoke’s Baileys Court cricket square being damaged by weedkiller has cost local taxpayers more than £13k, according to the minutes of Town Council meetings.

The damage came to light in March, when staff noticed the grass was starting to die off, and experts brought in by the Council later confirmed that a “readily available” weedkiller was to blame.

At a meeting of the Leisure, Youth and Amenities Committee in April, Councillors were told there was no clear evidence to indicate whether the incident had resulted from vandalism or mismanagement by the company responsible for the ground’s maintenance.

However, two days later, at a meeting of the Finance Committee, Councillors agreed that “on balance of probability, the original damage to the cricket wickets was contractor error” and voted to bill the contractor for £5,350 of emergency initial remedial works.

Councillors also agreed to a new programme of cricket ground maintenance, using a new contractor, costing a similar amount to the previous arrangement but requiring the Council to purchase a heavy sit-on roller and a specialised mower at a one-off total cost of £8,270.

Now, more than two months later, the bill for the remedial works remains unpaid by the original contractor (Classic Landscapes), so Councillors decided at the June meeting of the Finance Committee to consider making use of the Council’s ‘contract dispute’ insurance cover and issue a formal letter to the contractor.

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