Saturday, 21 October 2017

Hedge faces the chop as it’s too costly to maintain

A HEDGE in Sonning Common that costs £1,500 a year to maintain could be uprooted.

A HEDGE in Sonning Common that costs £1,500 a year to maintain could be uprooted.

The parish council has suggested removing the hedge in Margaret Allwright Way and replacing it with a flower bed or lower hedge.

Councillor John Stoves said: “It would be an excellent idea to cut it down because the piece of land it’s on is far too narrow to accommodate it.”

Councillor Barrie Greenwood said neighbours should be consulted, adding: “They may look at it as a barrier between them and a public right of way. Residents have complained about bad language and behaviour in that area. It would be rather difficult for them if they suddenly find the hedge is gone and behind it is a broken fence.

“Residents have complained before about not having been consulted before a decision is made. People do like to be informed.”

Councillor Gail Noble suggested replacing the hedge with a smaller one to protect wildlife, although she admitted it would still cost the council to maintain it.

The council agreed to write to all residents for whom the hedge is a boundary to obtain their views before making a decision. Any work that is approved would be carried out during the winter.

Meanwhile, residents are to be sent letters asking them to cut back overgrown hedges. The parish council will explain how they can hamper people in wheelchairs and mobility scooters using the pavements.

Councillor Chrissie Phillips-Tilbury said some hedges were “very poor” because people refused to cut them back.

“We regularly ask householders to cut them back via the parish magazine,” she said. “We’re working on getting a letter to out to explain much more formally that people need to get around.”

A similar problem has arisen in neighbouring Peppard, where the parish council was criticised for sending a “heavy-handed” letter to villagers warning they could be billed for more than £3,000 if Oxfordshire County Council has to trim privately owned hedges.

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