WINCHESTER City Council has been criticised for mowing a grass verge in Kings Worthy destroying an area adorned with wildflowers.

The authority carried out the work in North Road last month during ‘No Mow May’, which is a campaign encouraging people to not mow green spaces and allow for wildflowers to bloom, providing a feast of nectar for pollinators.

Resident Thomas Patrick Gilmartin was saddened to see that the authority had ignored the initiative.

He said: “Of course, much will grow back in time, but why mow so low and so often? And why mow at all when it is so beautiful and a peak time for wildflowers and the wildlife which feeds from them. It seems to be greatly saddening lots of people across the city.

“It has destroyed a beautiful and heart-lifting scene for no good reason - the grass was not tall - and to the detriment of wildlife.

“Is it possible for you to ask the council about this? Fewer mows, higher cuts and, where possible, no mowing at all in many places? It is supposed to be #NoMowMay.”

He posted about the incident on the Wild Winchester Facebook group, which sparked more criticism of the city council. One commenter said that it was “pure vandalism”, with another saying: “I was devastated to see that patch all mowed this morning! It was so beautiful”.

A city council spokesperson said: “Winchester City Council piloted ‘No Mow May’ across three sites in the district, West Hill Cemetery, New Alresford and Badger Farm. This reduction in cutting will be rolled out to other areas of the district if this pilot is deemed to have had a positive impact.

“Under the present agreement with Hampshire County Council we are obligated to undertake a certain numbers of cuts per year and any changes have to be agreed by all parties (Winchester City Council, Hampshire County Council, Highways Hampshire and contractor IDVerde).”

It comes after the county council were criticised for mowing a one-acre of meadow next to East Winchester Park and Ride at Bar End.

Liz Fouch, 65, of Highcliffe, regularly walks her dog along the cycleway which runs through the meadow. She said: “It’s disgusting how ignorant people can be.

“They have decimated this beautiful meadow at completely the wrong time of year.”

The county council said in response that the overgrown meadow was “posing a threat” to the survival of the wild flowers that grow there.