Among the top four subjects for discussion at parish council meetings is one you would not have expected – the use (or abuse) of grass verges.
It seems to cause more annoyance, and more dismay, than a lot of other subjects put together…
In this day and age, when so many households have more than one car, one small driveway per house is often not enough.
So, many motorists, particularly on the Uttoxeter Road – the main road going through Draycott – and on Sandon Road – the main road going through Cresswell – park their cars, not by the side of the road, but on the grass verges.
Naturally, this tears up the grass.
And why do the parish council find this such a problem? Because many residents write to them saying how unsightly and untidy this makes the area look.
The point is that: it is not illegal to park on verges. The police may knock on your door if they think your car is blocking a view of the highway, but this isn’t likely in Draycott or Cresswell.
(It is an offence to park on the pavement though. That can attract a £30 fine).
The council has investigated the possibility of growing small trees or shrubs in the verges, and even placing white posts on them – but South Moorlands District council, who would be responsible in putting in these things, say they are opposed to such measures. It seems like they think they will be vandalised, and should only be used in extreme cases.
So nothing is done.
Bizarrely, we do know of one instance where a householder put a potted shrub out on a verge – and was ordered by SMDC to remove it. It was classed as a ‘trip hazard’!
The question is: why don’t motorists simply park in the road by the kerb, instead of pulling up on to the verge?
Well, believe it or not, many motorists think this is a considerate way to do things.
We had an interesting discussion in the pub where a motorist explained to us why he parks on the verge.
“If you park in the road, passing cars have to pull round you, and with the speed they do, especially on Uttoxeter Road, this can be dangerous to oncoming traffic.
“In Cresswell, it is even worse, because the main road through there is quite narrow in parts, and they come whizzing round the bend coming from the top, so if they have to swerve to avoid a parked car, that could cause an accident.”
There are also insurance reasons for not parking in the road.
(It would be interesting to ask the police if they think parking on verges really is a safer option).
Perhaps the best solution is to do what Upper Newton Farm have done – and put out small notices (pictured above).
To avoid the signs being classed as ‘trip hazards’ it might be as well to place them nearer the kerb though. (We will have to ask SMDC’s advice…)
One good piece of news on verges though…
We want to say a big Thank-You to the highways team (or, was it the farmer?) who recently cut back all the undergrowth blocking the side of the road between Cresswell and The Hunter pub.
It was a dangerous route for a pedestrian before, as you had to walk in the road, but now there is plenty of room on the verge for a walker. It makes a pint at The Hunter a little less hazardous!
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