Cuts to grass-trimming put lives at risk it is claimed

6:59am Thursday 5th June 2014

MORE lives have been put at risk as a result of Herefordshire Council's decision to reduce grass-cutting, it has been claimed.

Last week, the Hereford Times reported how 18-year-old Rhys Evans overturned his car after missing a sign warning of a sharp bend due to overgrown vegetation.

It followed Herefordshire Council's decision to reduce grass-cutting from seven to three times a year in a bid to save £670,000.

And councillor Chris Chappell believes long grass, which is obscuring lifebuoys near the River Wye, pose further safety concerns.

"It’s a very dangerous situation. If someone goes into the river you can’t see them from the bank," he said.

"People do go in the river and unfortunately that stretch is notorious for taking lives."

The vegetation surrounding the lifebuoys near Hinton Road would make it difficult for anyone to locate the device in an emergency, added cllr Chappell.

He also claimed that he has received a number of complaints regarding the reduced trimming, with some people even threatening to withhold council tax.

"I know there is a shortage of money but there needs to be a complete re-think," he said.

"It’s essential that along the river banks or at road junctions that the grass is kept down and when visitors drive into Hereford it is always nice for them to see it’s being trimmed."

But visitors travelling into the city on the A4103 would have barely been able to catch sight of where they were heading.

The "Welcome to Hereford" sign, photographed by Allan Hooper, is almost covered by the surrounding grass.

More than 2,000 people have now signed an online petition calling for Herefordshire Council to reverse its decision.

And a Facebook group entitled "Hereford Council are a pain in the grass" has also been "liked" by more than 2,000 people.

Chris Draper, from Lower Bullingham, is a resident who has taken grass-cutting into his own hands after safety concerns.

After complaining to Herefordshire Council about a blind spot on Bullingham Lane, near to the railway bridge, he went out with a neighbour to tackle the issue.

"It's not on to just say 'we will cut the grass three times a year'," he said.

"Some priorities should be given – such as to junctions or blind spots and roundabouts."

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