Ihave lived in my current home outside Wycombe for just under three decades and every year someone in a tractor has come along at some point in the summer to cut back the verges and hedges that overhang some of our country roads, many of which are already narrow lanes with passing places.
I have assumed that this has always been done by contractors instructed by the county council and on checking this week discovered that was indeed the case. I was told that grass verges were no longer being cut right back to the hedges as a cost saving measure and were only receiving two cuts along the side of the road. Our road has had none this year.
Hedges are apparently a less clear issue and adjacent landowners can be asked to cut back their encroaching hedges. But the dangerous long bend on the road near me is on common land and the hedges are immediately adjacent to a narrow road which is becoming narrower by each burgeoning twig. I explained that I was concerned that animals running in front of vehicles with no warning might cause an accident, whereas if the hedges were vertical rather than at a 60 degree angle and if the roadside grass was cut back, you would get some warning of an animal’s approach before it was on you. The response was that: ‘You shouldn’t swerve to avoid animals’ – and indeed with that second to think you might well realise that – but with no time to think and the threat of impact with a muntjac deer or badger, I defy most drivers to resist the temptation to try to avoid hitting them.
I have been told that an inspector will assess the situation and report back within ten days. I just hope that between now and then drivers exercise caution and drive within their range of visibility, which is often not the case.
However much the county council may deny it, it is too much of a coincidence that these road safety measures are cut back in a year of stringent financial cuts.
There were no such problems evident in the photographs to be seen in the video currently available from this newspaper ‘High Wycombe – The Way We Were’. Halcyon days – no yellow lines, no traffic other than stagecoaches. And a man sold his wife in Wycombe market apparently. Makes a change from mobile phone covers.