Maidenhead doctor battles 'nightmare' hedges

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

A Maidenhead doctor took the lead on battling overgrown vegetation on Courthouse Road which forced pedestrians into the path of cars.

Lydia Egan noticed that the path near Courthouse Junior School was getting narrower and becoming dangerous for the children and parents with pushchairs who used the route.

Hedges and trees are growing through the pavement and the path had become muddy and slippery.

“As an emergency physician it was giving me nightmares,” Lydia said.

“In our department, there are so many traumas that happen at around school pick-up and drop-off time – it’s our busiest time. It’s a regular occurrence.”

Lydia has a four-year-old daughter and also has disabilities affecting her balance. Both she and her daughter struggled to navigate the overgrown stretch.

“I’m a bit less steady on my feet than other people, so trying to navigate a narrow path with a prickly hedge on a road with cars zooming by was a challenge,” she said.

After making unsuccessful approaches to the council, Lydia decided to take matters into her own hands and started cutting back the overgrowth.

She was helped community volunteers from GoodGym and local Lib Dem councillors Clive Baskerville (Pinkneys Green) and Simon Bond (Belmont).

Other concerned neighbours began chipping in as well once work began.

The team have been working at it every week since the middle of October and collected dozens of bags of cuttings.

Councillors have so far been unable to determine who owns the land where the hedges are planted, complicating matters.

Nonetheless, Lydia feels it’s the council’s responsibility to keep on top of overgrowth across the paths.

“As a doctor I also want people to be healthy and walk more – but they need the paths to be clear to do that,” she said.

There are some problems that volunteers cannot fix. Cllr Bond said:

“It’s one thing to ask volunteers to cut back hedges but there are some trees coming through the pavement and it isn’t appropriate to ask volunteers to (deal with) that.

“The biggest part is taking it all to the dump. We have gone about 20 to 25 times in private cars, which doesn’t fit with the council’s climate strategy.

“The council’s contractors (Tivoli) should at least be taking the stuff away.”

Cllr Bond intends to bring the matter to the Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee set for this evening (Thursday).

Lead member for environmental services David Coppinger (Con, Bray) said:

“We don’t want to spend the borough’s money on something it’s not liable for – if someone is hurt as a result of hedges on their land, it’s the landowner’s fault.

“But we obviously don’t want that to happen and we may well have to work with the landowners to sort the issue.”

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