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Hedge row at accident spot rumbles on

The scene of a serious collision last September, at the junction of Zuill's Park Road and South Road (Photograph supplied)

A dispute over a roadside hedge near an accident hotspot could end with the landowner being ordered to move the bushes.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the public works minister, told MPs on Friday that the best solution might “appease the majority of the residents but leave the landowner unhappy”.

But he added that “based on the disposition of the neighbourhood”, it was “unlikely” that any other option would be acceptable.

Colonel Burch was speaking after Cole Simons, the Opposition leader and Smith’s South MP, asked questions about improvements at the junction of Zuill’s Park Road and South Road in Smith’s in House of Assembly last Friday.

Frequent crashes in the area sparked a petition by residents last year to appeal for the removal of an oleander hedge which they said obstructed visibility.

A investigation by the ministry found the speed of vehicles on South Road, especially motorcycles, was the top risk factor.

Rumble strips were later installed on the road, new markings added to Zuill’s Park Road and more mirrors set up to improve safety.

Colonel Burch said some residents felt the rumble strips were working but that others disagreed and one had objected to the noise.

He added that the ministry believed the rumble strips had “a calming effect” – but that new surfacing would have to be added to them to improve grip.

Colonel Burch said that Zuill’s Park Road was private, so alterations should be funded by residents.

But he added the ministry had a statutory duty to ensure road safety.

Colonel Burch said the owner of the hedge had given an undertaking to prune the hedge on a regular basis.

But he added neighbours had contacted the ministry “every time the landowner is neglectful of trimming”.

Colonel Burch said earlier talks with the landowner about buying part of his land to move the boundary farther back from the road had appeared successful.

But he added: “Some altercation with the neighbours has caused him to change his mind and he is no longer willing to sell.”

MPs heard, however, that compulsory purchase could be considered.

Colonel Burch said a deal that involved residents to keep the hedge cut low was the best plan.

But he added it would come at “zero cost but a huge headache” as “residents have been very antagonistic to each other thus far”.

Colonel Burch said the owner of the field had already moved the hedge back.

He said that, given the higher speeds along that stretch of South Road, the easiest solution would likely be to order the hedge to be moved again.

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Published May 24, 2021 at 7:53 am (Updated May 24, 2021 at 7:37 am)

Hedge row at accident spot rumbles on

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