I HAVE just returned from a neat and tidy European town to be shocked by the shoddy condition of parts of Ledbury, and presumably all Herefordshire towns.

Grass and weeds are everywhere half a metre high.

Housing estates will soon be an urban jungle and the Riverside Park a natural wilderness.

Has anyone done a cost analysis on these Herefordshire Council cuts?

There may be some short-term savings, but what about the long-term costs?

When the poor condition of Herefordshire towns gets known, there could a fall in house prices, a loss of tourism, and even early damage to grass cutting machinery coping with an overload. Wild seeds and weeds will proliferate.

What is immeasurable is the loss of morale in our towns. People will see Herefordshire Council giving up on what we presume is its statutory duty; and litter dropping, rubbish dumping and dog defecation are all likely to increase.

Voluntary helpers such as the many 'In Bloom' teams are likely to be discouraged, and the safety of children's activities is imperilled.

Some play areas regularly used by children are covered in knee-deep vegetation and harmful thistles.

May we appeal to town and county councillors alike to address this problem and take a longer-term view.

John Grove