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Obese hedges threaten pedestrians

3rd August 2008 @ 8:08am – by Audlem Webteam
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Peter Morgan writes: "Hedges loomed large in the discussions of the Parish Council at a recent meeting as councillors struggled to get to the root of the matter without cutting any corners or trimming back debate! Tall hedges, fat, or should that be, horizontally challenged hedges, and hedges with no clear purpose in life except to endanger the unwary motorist or foolish pedestrian, came under the unflinching scrutiny of Audlem's sharp eyed, 'guardians of safe passage.' "The 'shear neglect' of some irksome hedge owners is a growing cause of concern and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. The Council politely, but firmly, requests all property owners who have hedges adjoining the highway or footpaths to get them cut back so as not to obstruct the vision of road users or the free passage of the footpath.

"Over the years, hedges will increase in width and this often results in an unnecessary and potentially dangerous narrowing of the footway which is a particular problem for mothers with pushchairs and people on mobility scooters or in wheelchairs, not to mention councillors walking their dogs!

"Also of special concern is the 'junction obstruction hedge,' which has over time, grown out in a valiant effort to try and meet its cousin on the opposite side of the road and in the process, quite often swallowed up the road nameplate, which reposes in darkened solitude in a deep and leafy recess. If you own such a hedge, please get it cut back now, so that the nameplate stands quite clear of it, because your hedge is intruding on the highway and if it were to be the cause, either wholly or in part of a serious accident, your rampant hedge could land you in court.

"As Inspector Hassall pointed out at the Village Meeting a few weeks back, the public highway extends, in its legal sense, from the centre hedge line on one side of the road to the same on the other. This means that the grass verge is part of the highway and no obstruction should be placed on it. So please remember, there is no room on the sidewalk for an obese hedge."

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