‘LAZY’ council workers whose summer maintenance regime received criticism after football pitches were left with foot-high grass have been urged to alter their stance - after confirming they are not due to be cut until the end of July.

The issue was first raised by Worsbrough Bridge Athletic last week when chairman Mark Booth arrived at the club’s pitch, on Park Road, to discover council workers had cut around the perimeter while ignoring the main pitch.

Worsbrough ward’s Coun Jake Lodge blasted the relaxed measures over the summer - which the council say are necessary at well-used pitches to allow surfaces to recover - and said cutting should increase over the school holidays.

He told the Chronicle it’s a similar picture across the borough, particularly at Worsbrough Dale Park which is ‘unable to be played on’ due to the height of grass.

“Basically, the council stop cutting some areas from the end of May until the end of July and they say this is done to effectively allow pitches to renew themselves,” he added.

“However, doing this is not only a lazy way of maintaining fields used by the public but also means children simply cannot use them during their school holidays.

“They’re far too overgrown to play football and even if you walk on them, there’s a safety issue as you cannot see what’s on the surface - there could be glass or all sorts below.

“This situation could easily be rectified by increasing the summer grass-cutting schedule.”

Mark echoed Coun Lodge’s thoughts and urged the council to act.

He said: “The council have cut around the perimeter recently but have completely failed to do the middle of the pitch.

“So they’ve got the resources to come and cut the grass, but have just ignored the main section where people play.

“They’ve told us that they’re not going to cut the pitch from May through to the end of July.

“The grass is about two feet high now by the time they end up cutting it there’ll be so much debris we won’t be able to play on it anyway.

“After they cut they don’t clear things up, so that’s up to our volunteers to make sure there’s no loose grass on the pitch.

“The council workers do as little as possible while still charging people, and expect volunteers to clear up the rest for them.

“But it’s not just about the clubs, this is part of a wider problem with how we use green spaces.

“Where are kids meant to go?

“An awful lot of people talk about antisocial behaviour, young people destroying bus shelters and throwing rocks at buses, but where do they expect children to go?”

Matt O’Neill, executive director for growth and sustainability, said the council’s trialling a ‘new way of managing pitches’.

“From the end of May until July we’re reducing the mowing schedule while we carry out renovation works so pitches will be cut less often during the off-season.

“Within the lease agreement, pitches are leased for the season and clubs are asked not to arrange friendlies, cup games, or training sessions from June to the end of July to allow renovation works to be undertaken and grass regrowth.

“Once the renovations have been completed, the frequency of cuts will increase to make sure the pitches are playable for the start of the new season.”