Cutting of road side verges- Financial v Safety ?

Richard Fairhurst
(site admin)
👍 3

Wed 21 Jul, 10:40

The Hanborough–Bladon roadside path, the subject of the Oxford Mail article that Mark linked to earlier in this thread, has been cut back very effectively too.

(Really the issue there is that the path is too narrow anyway – people cycle along it because the A4095 is lethal, and the lack of paths through Blenheim means there’s no alternative route. Getting a proper cycle path along there is, without a doubt, the most needed improvement for cycling in West Oxfordshire. More than a little cheeky for the councillor for Hanborough to pose outraged in the Oxford Mail, when as part of the former administration he had many years to do something about that path!)

Philip Ambrose
👍 2

Wed 21 Jul, 09:49

Whether it's as a result of this thread, or mere coincidence, some action seems to have been taken locally this week. Many thanks to those responsible for making this happen, improving visibility and safety on our roads.

Philip Ambrose
👍 4

Sun 18 Jul, 08:55 (last edited on Sun 18 Jul, 09:19)

Visibility will become ever more important as we are forced into electric vehicles.  Pedestrians / cyclists / riders cannot hear them (or smell them!) so the only sense left for self-preservation is vision.

Janet Burroughs
👍 2

Sat 17 Jul, 17:53

Living at the top of Woodstock Road just within the 30MPH zone, I can confirm that: 

1 Traffic has noticeably increased in volume, particularly this year. 

2 This increase is in part accounted for by a certain type of car/driver who will not slow down. We hear the cars approaching and can tell that many pass the 30 MPH limit without slowing down. These are possibly Clarkson fans on their way to see Diddly Squat Farm Shop at Chadlington. 

Example: My husband had a near collision a week ago pulling out of a single track road just beyond Kindswood onto the B4437. Vision was poor due to uncut verges. Luckily he was pulling out very cautiously when  a car built for speed literally whizzed past at speed, a great speed - he estimates 80MPH++. 

3 The only way likely to slow things on Woodstock Road is an actual physical barrier - a build out. 

4 Re the verges - Victoria mentions narrowing of the road affecting cyclists and pedestrians. It also affects many drivers. With the verges falling over the roadside, many drivers  are psychologically driving further into the middle of the road than normal. So another safety issue - a possible collision. 

5 Michael - I agree - adjoining counties have got a much better management scheme - cutting about a metre of verge to improve vision for road users but leaving wherever possible natural growth. We saw a wonderful example a couple of weeks ago when following a detour from just before Tewkesbury towards Pershore. There was a managed verge and behind the metre that had been mown the most wonderful display of Ox Eye daisies for about half a mile.  

So we have 2 issues - what is the best verge management to balance the different competing needs and interests, where relevant factors are not only safety and finance but also environmental,  and also how do we manage the speed of cars, particularly within the speed limit areas. 

Michael Butler 16
👍 2

Sat 17 Jul, 17:20

We drove back from Glouctershire today all the verges in Gloucestershire are cut back by about a metre so most of it remains. As soon as we came through the Oxfordshire sign this stopped!!

Mark Sulik
👍 1

Sat 17 Jul, 17:02

Not to detract from the original post - Financial V Safety - no one has been able to comment as to if this is a cost cutting exercise or not . The over grown verges are all along the road towards Woodstock, not just contained in the 30 / 20 mph zones in Charlbury.


responsible land owners and farmers are cutting the verges at entrances and abutting land , as they have for many years. 

I do not believe that any management or Maintainance has been undertaken this year , from my regular journeys along these roads, where as in previous years it has been noticed.

Therefore one would conclude it’s a financial decision as it’s not safer 

Brian Murray
👍 2

Sat 17 Jul, 16:14

One benefit of the overgrown hedges on Woodstock Road in particular, is that they act as something of a deterrent to speeding traffic. Most of the traffic using that road is exceeding the 30 mph limit, with that coming down the hill often travelling at eye-watering speeds. There can be little doubt that widening the road by cutting back the vegetation would bring even higher speeds and make things more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists.

When the town council has the meeting with OCC I hope they will take such unintended benefits in to consideration, prevent a policy of 'slash and burn' and ensure we end up with safer roads. 

victoria bull
👍 4

Sat 17 Jul, 13:28

The Woodstock Road is very dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists with overgrown hedges and verges reducing visibility and making the road too narrow for vehicles to pass on both sides when anyone is walking. There is constant speeding as cars approach or leave Charlbury, putting those of us who live here at great risk if we want to walk into town or elsewhere. Nothing has been done about this for years.

Michael Butler 16
👍 4

Fri 16 Jul, 21:18

Liz... working group? just get them cut before there are bad accidents related to this. 

Oxfordshire roads are terrible pot holes and services very badly made good why as a county that pays loads of tax do we have to put up with rubbish roads? go up north or wales the roads are silky

Harriet Baldwin
👍 1

Thu 15 Jul, 18:33

The vetch and poppies on the nine acres lane corner is a deliberate sowing of wildflower seed. Either by gigaclear (as it's replicated in front of most of the work they've done on verges where there is also a box) or by a charlbury resident. The density is too great for it be natural and as far as I'm aware tufted vetch doesn't grow in any of our nature reserves. 

Liz Leffman
👍 2

Thu 15 Jul, 11:56

I think that with the very wet weather the verges have grown much more than usual, not that they aren't being managed

Hugh Belshaw
👍 2

Thu 15 Jul, 11:44

As I now have use of a mobility scooter I take a pair of secateurs with me so that I can cut back brambles and branches that hamper my progress rather than fall off into the road.  The narrow pathways and pavements are quite a hazard, not to mention the uneven surfaces and potholes.

Mark Sulik
👍

Thu 15 Jul, 10:47

This is the first year that I can recall the verge not being cut or maintained - obviously a reason ? Hence the title of the post 

Liz Leffman
👍 8

Wed 14 Jul, 14:20 (last edited on Wed 14 Jul, 14:21)

We have just set up a working group to look at verge cutting, so will report back in due course.

Philip Ambrose
👍 2

Wed 14 Jul, 09:55 (last edited on Thu 15 Jul, 09:29)

If OCC is serious about road safety, cutting and maintaining a 1 metre wide strip along all A and B roads and others (wherever possible) ought to be a priority. This would massively increase visibility (especially as regards cyclists) and provide somewhere for  pedestrians to step off the road where there (often) is no footpath. Road safety isn't all about speeding. Junctions along the B4022 between Enstone and Charlbury are a case in point. What's the cost of grass cutting compared with one road traffic accident? Police, Ambulance, NHS, sick pay etc. Environmental impact of cutting a 1 metre wide strip is negligible as that usually still leaves a large area for fauna and flora. OCC's record on highways under Hudspeth was pathetic, let's hope it's better with Leffman at the helm.

Potholes? Don't get me started. Oxfordshire's roads are a disgrace, adjacent counties manage much better. This week I spoke to a delivery driver acquaintance and keen cyclist who told me that due to the state of Oxfordshire's roads he has given up road cycling and sold his carbon fibre road bike in favour of a gravel / off-road bike.

Mark Sulik
👍 1

Tue 13 Jul, 10:16

About 12.30, aprox. 2 miles out of Charlbury 3 riders , no details other than a quiet electric car , a scratch and a bruised ego - no further details obtained

All were safe and went on their way

Nick Millea
👍

Tue 13 Jul, 09:54

Can you supply details of the accident? I hadn't heard about that. When? Where? Anybody hurt?

Mark Sulik
👍

Mon 12 Jul, 20:55

Well done to the Cotswold voluntary Wardens  ! To put the original post back on track - and the evidence of the cycle event passing through Charlbury on Sunday , and the accident on the Woodstock road between an electric ( silent ) car and a small group of cyclists- I think that safety should be the first consideration ? Cut the Verges :

Jackie Hague
👍

Mon 12 Jul, 14:38

Thank you, Simon.  That is good news.

Simon Walker
👍 7

Mon 12 Jul, 13:37

The verges on either side of the footpath exit on to the bottom of Pound Hill have now been cut back, courtesy of the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens, so you can now see better both ways.

Gareth Epps
👍 6

Sat 10 Jul, 21:32 (last edited on Sat 10 Jul, 23:18)

The Oxford Mail article is unintentionally hilarious once you are aware that the rentaquote councillor quoted was responsible for cutting of verges until May when his party lost control.

Please can people report areas needing cutting via the Town Council, as Claire has highlighted, or if on a main road use fixmystreet.com or via Cllr Leffman.  Verges are the responsibility of the County Council as highway authority.  There is a very valid debate about the balance between safety and environmental harm; this year it has been affected by huge amounts of rain that led to certain plants growing from nowhere (including plants that couldn’t stand last year’s dry heat).

The Town Council has a site visit with OCC about some markings later this month, so again, please flag areas needing painting.

Mark Sulik
👍 1

Sat 10 Jul, 19:22

We have cut back weeds and out of control growth that was preventing the use of the the path to ares the station on Dyers Hill . 

Simon J Harley
👍

Sat 10 Jul, 19:07

I think a lot of these areas are beyond cutting back.  The verges have “slipped” onto the footpaths and roads narrowing them.  Work carried out by MKJ hasn’t helped in some areas as they have disturbed compacted grass verges allowing them to move.  The article in the Witney Gazette surely cannot be correct that verges are only cut once a year?

Jackie Hague
👍

Sat 10 Jul, 16:36

Anyone using the permissive path from the cemetery on to Pound Hill to reach the footpath by Water Lane will find their visibility is totally obscured by vegetation when checking for oncoming traffic. Likewise cyclists and car drivers driving in to Charlbury from the Spelsbury Road have no chance of spotting walkers crossing at that point.  It is dangerous. 

Mark Sulik
👍

Sat 10 Jul, 16:22

By chance, this has been published in todays Oxford Mail :

https://www.witneygazette.co.uk/news/19432321.oxfordshire-councillor-blasts-council-unsafe-grass-verges/

Harriet Baldwin
👍

Sat 10 Jul, 15:35 (last edited on Sat 10 Jul, 16:19)

Claire I've mentioned this (plus the fact that at one time I saw an elderly lady cutting the grass with scissors to improve visibility at the top of Dancers Hill/the Slade) to the council for a few years now, even when I was on the council, and nothing gets done. So I am continuing to assume environmentalism trumps access/safety for residents. 

I'll add to this that IMO having mentioned it as an accessibility problem once, I shouldn't need to mention it again, as it's a given that the vegetation will grow and need cutting back every year. 

Claire Wilding
👍 6

Sat 10 Jul, 12:26

The town council is not generally responsible for verges, that's either Oxfordshire County Council or the private landowners. That's not to say that we can't help though. You can email us on charlburytc@btinternet.com

We would much prefer that you contacted us about an issue rather than assume that we are "ageist" and "ableist". You might be pleasantly surprised to find we are quite nice, helpful people.

Simon J Harley
👍 1

Sat 10 Jul, 11:48

A number of footpaths around Charlbury are very overgrown.  I have taken to walking on the road in areas which surely has to be an unnecessary risk for me and my dogs?  The footpath on Dancers Hill for example is approximately 3/4 covered by overhanging grass, and when wet, is very unpleasant to walk down.  Who’s responsible for keeping this cut back as it certainly not being done. 

Mark Sulik
👍

Sat 10 Jul, 11:09

I was referring to the roads generally in and out of Charlbury, but the pavements look messy , reducing usable widths and encouraging dog fouling - a long and unresolved Charlbury issue.

Visibility of oncoming traffic is very restricted at the bottom of 9 acres lane ( opposite New Barn Garage ) where the sudden increase of long term parking has restarted . A bottle neck at the best of times, but the uncut verges compound the problem with reduced visibility. 

The new speed restriction signs and general signage  are not clear and obscured.

Harriet Baldwin
👍 2

Sat 10 Jul, 10:48

It's environmentally friendly and that trumps anything else. But as I've said before, it's not person friendly particularly if you are elderly, move slowly, can't hear so well and have to (for example) cross nine acres lane to get into mine acres close. Presumably the town council being relatively young and fit has missed this, or maybe it's another example of ableist ageism. 

And yes, you probably were referring to roads in general, but starting in charlbury would be good

Mark Sulik
👍 2

Sat 10 Jul, 10:18

The lack of grass cutting reduces road visibility and obscures road signs. With increasing numbers of cyclist on the roads - often in pack and side by side, a potential accident ?

Road markings at junctions are in need of replacing as difficult to see, especially in wet weather.

Budget cuts ???

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