WILTSHIRE Council could end the controversial and much maligned £150m contract with Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP) to maintain the county’s roads and streets three years early.

BBLP took on the five-year contract with Wiltshire Council in 2013 and has been heavily criticised about its performance ever since, with towns and villages across the county unhappy with its grass-cutting provision.

Residents have repeatedly complained about overgrown grass being ignored over the last two summers, with some becoming so exasperated that they started cutting it themselves.

The council’s scrutiny committee investigated the contract just three months after it was awarded due to the volume of complaints and said it was “performing satisfactorily”, but highlighted areas for improvement.

It is now believed that the council is seeking end the deal, which also includes potholes, street lights and litter collection and had previously been undertaken by four separate organisations.

In a joint statement, Wiltshire Council and Balfour Beatty said: “Wiltshire Council and Balfour Beatty are working towards a solution for ongoing delivery of the highway maintenance contract in Wiltshire.

“Constructive discussions are ongoing and we will provide an update when appropriate.”

The company sent out written apologies to households across west Wiltshire around July last year, acknowledging its failure to keep up with its planned grass cutting schedule.

In March, the council confirmed that Balfour Beatty had subcontracted all the grass cutting work throughout Wiltshire to former highways contractor English Landscape, apart from the road verges.

Cllr Jeff Osborn, who first called for the contract to be investigated, said: “We predicted this over two years ago. Although grass cutting has improved in Trowbridge and Melksham recently, the same can’t be said elsewhere.

“Myself, Terry Chivers and Helen Osborn said there were problems from the very outset and were criticised for being negative, but people weren’t happy and now it’s all coming home to roost.

“It’s a complete disaster really and the question now is what are they going to do and how much is it going to cost? The reason the council went for BBLP was because it was cheap and they used the money they saved elsewhere in health and social care.

“My concern is what will the knock on effect be to other services? They will probably put the contract back out to tender and I could see them splitting it up into separate areas again.”