Overgrown hedgerows a hazard
OVERGROWN hedgerows are among a series of hazards which have sparked safety concerns among villagers.
People living in Lower Tean are struggling to access facilities such as the pharmacy, schools and local shops which are around a mile away.
The pavement linking Lower and Upper Tean, along the A522, is so overgrown there is only around 18 inches of space available to pedestrians.
Other hazards highlighted by concerned residents include speed limit signs obscured by hedgerows, a faulty aquakerb – a metal insert into the kerb which acts as a drain – which is flipped upright by passing lorries and then blocks part of the pavement, and fence panels missing at the bottom of Birchendale Close, presenting direct access onto the busy road for children living there.
Villagers in Lower Tean have reported their concerns to local authorities, but say they have been told the works are ‘not a priority.’
Stuart Lowe, of Birchendale Close, raised concerns with Staffordshire County Council’s highways department more than four months ago.
He said: “In the recent past there have been a few road incidents in Lower Tean.
“The bus stop was flattened, the stone wall near the pub was damaged in the middle of the night and two cars collided on the bend adjacent to Leigh Lane, with one car finished up on its roof on the grass verge.
“In the last couple of weeks I have attended as a first aider when a car flipped on its side going out of Lower Tean.
“On the approach to Lower Tean the signage is totally inappropriate. The 40mph signs are overgrown and covered by the hedgerow.
“There are pensioners who walk to Tean and I watched them step off the footpath and into the road until they are past the obstructions.
“Now we have pensioners and mothers with pushchairs who are frightened to walk to get a bit of shopping.
“My own son had a near-miss recently when a car mounted the pavement and he had to throw himself into the hedge to avoid being hit.”
Times and Echo reporter, Nat Wakefield, walked part of the route on Thursday last week, to see for herself the difficulties facing villagers who need to walk to access local facilities including the village hall, schools and pharmacy.
She said: “In places the pavement from kerb to boundary wall is around four and a half feet wide, but the hedge is so bushy there is really only around 18 inches of walking space.
“When HGVs or even smaller cars come past, it’s really quite frightening.”
Hedges are the responsibility of the landowner, but Staffordshire County Council can issue notices to enforce action to clear footways.
In addition to the hedges creating a barrier to people walking along the main road, Mr Lowe has raised concerns about missing fence panels at the bottom of Birchendale Close.
The fence, which is maintained by Staffordshire County Council, forms a boundary between the residential street and the main road.
Two panels have been missing for several months, causing much concern among families on the road – particularly those with children.
On Friday workers appeared to attempt a repair.
Mr Lowe added: “The panels look as though they came from a DIY store – they tried to put them in but they are not fit for purpose.
“They have not been measured right and had to be cut down with a circular saw, so I can’t imagine they will last very long.”
Staffordshire County Councillor, Mark Deaville explained that responsibility for the cutting of boundary hedges usually lies with the adjacent landowner and highways teams would be talking to individual landowners about the matter.
Mark said: “I am very aware of the issues and concerns from people and have asked our highways teams to work with the landowners so they can undertake the necessary work.
“We would always welcome any community support in helping to resolve matters such as this.
“Anyone with concerns about over grown hedges should report them at www.staffordshire.gov.uk or by calling 0300 111 8000.”
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