EXETER'S weeds are to be pulled up by people on community service.
The cost will be £4,000 and will come from money left over from last year's locality budgets which are given to the city's nine county councillors.
A single spray of the weeds by Devon County Council would cost £25,000.
While councillors have chosen in previous years to pay for weed control from their budgets, and the county council said they could choose to do this again this year, they instead took the view that this would use up too much money that could be given in grants to the local community.
While an alternative was looked for, the weeds grew unchecked.
Now however a proposal has been put before the Exeter Board by the Devon and Cornwall Probation Trust for a pilot 20 to 25 day scheme whereby a supervisor and a group of up to six offenders will pull up the weeds. The offenders undertaking the work will be subject to community orders and will be unpaid.
They will work seven days a week and will not be in areas of high traffic because they will not be qualified to work there. Nor will they be spraying the weeds as, again, they will not be qualified.
Members of the board approved the pilot going ahead.
Rob Hannaford, county councillor for St Thomas and Exwick, said: "The weeds have run riot and have seeded, they need pulling."
Jill Owen, county councillor for St David's and St James, backed the pilot, saying: It is vital that we get on with this."
Cllr Owen added: "This is not a sustainable solution because obviously next year we are going to have the same problem. Hopefully we will go along with this pilot – they have yet to decide which areas they are going to work in.
"But afterwards we will get another report in and hopefully will be able to come to some permanent arrangement."
Those on community service pulled weeds in Marsh Barton and Sowton in 2011 and the scheme was hailed a success.