Anger as Queen's Diamond Jubilee party site turns into muddy mess
RESIDENTS are furious after a piece of parkland they want to use for a Diamond Jubilee street party has been turned into a 'muddy mess' by a council mower.
Families say the piece of land in Lightwood desperately needed cutting to make it suitable for their planned celebrations for the Queen in June.
But instead, a city council worker turned the grass into what families in Melchester Grove claim is a muddy 'monstrosity.'
The row comes after the council revealed plans to cut back on grounds maintenance staff.
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Last summer bosses confirmed the authority had saved £339,000 by not re-appointing 17 seasonal workers responsible for mowing meadows and other public green spaces.
But the city council say the problem is nothing to do with cutbacks and has apologised for the damage.
Barbara Morgan, said the state of the grass land also means her 13-year-old son, Jack, has been left with nowhere to play football.
The 52-year-old, who lives in the street with her husband, Peter, aged 52, said: "Workmen from the city council came along and while they normally just cut the grass, this time they seem to have tried to plough it, or flatten it down.
"Instead all that's happened is that the huge tractor they used has left tyre tracks and turned it into an absolute monstrosity.
"We celebrated the Royal Wedding between William and Kate there and it was lovely. We wanted to do the same thing for the Diamond Jubilee.
"I don't think we will be able to do that now because it's like a mud bath. Unless we wanted to do mud wrestling. "
Housewife Debbie Kane, aged 43, of Melchester Grove, said: "Whoever has done this must surely have realised, as soon as he drove his truck on to there, that all it was doing was dragging up the ground. Anybody with a bit of common sense would have stopped rather than trawl through the whole field.
"We are all worried now that our party is not going to go ahead. I'm not sure how it can if something isn't done to sort it out."
Bagh Ali, city councillor for Lightwood North and Normacot, said: "These people deserve better. I went down to see the field myself and it's awful."
Councillor Janine Bridges, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for city services, said: "A member of staff mowed the land on Tuesday. Unfortunately it has been left in a muddy state. We have apologised and we understand residents' concerns.
"However, no long term damage has been done to the plot, and we will continue to regularly maintain the land. It will be visited on a number of occasions before the Diamond Jubilee celebrations."