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‘Does someone have to be killed?’: Concerns about overgrown weeds and verges along Watlington and Terrington St Clement roads





A worried driver has been left fearing for the worst after overgrown weeds contributed to her being involved in a car crash.

Alison Rankin, 55, was forced to edge out from a junction onto Lynn Road in Watlington - near the village hall - because lengthy weeds were blocking her view.

Unable to see past the four-feet high nettles, she was struck by an approaching vehicle - leading to her car being written off.

Alison Rankin's view onto Lynn Road in Watlington was obstructed by the four-foot high nettles
Alison Rankin's view onto Lynn Road in Watlington was obstructed by the four-foot high nettles

She has now raised concerns that Norfolk County Council is not doing enough to manage the growth of foliage throughout our rural areas.

Terrington St Clement residents have also voiced frustrations about overgrown verges along the A17 in recent weeks - although these have now been trimmed down.

Ms Rankin, who lives in Downham, was driving through Watlington on May 16 when her collision occurred.

Alison Rankin's car was left written off after the crash in Watlington
Alison Rankin's car was left written off after the crash in Watlington

“The nettles are about four feet high. As I had to pull out to see, a car came round the corner so quickly,” she told the Lynn News.

“Obviously I didn’t see them coming in the first place.

“I think it is very worrying. I consider myself a very careful driver, and this has been awful.”

The county council is responsible for maintaining grass verges, roadside weeds and trees growing on adopted highway verges.

The grass verges in the middle of the A17 at Terrington St Clement have been trimmed
The grass verges in the middle of the A17 at Terrington St Clement have been trimmed

The Lynn News contacted the authority for comment, but no response was received before our print deadline.

The council’s website says that its highways team only carries out one weed treatment per year, completed between late spring and early summer.

Meanwhile, it adds that the council only cuts grass verges “for safety reasons, not appearance”.

This has left Ms Rankin worried that someone may fall victim to a crash worse than her’s due to poor visibility.

“I think up until someone gets killed there, they are not going to do anything,” she added.

“We pay our taxes - they should keep us safe.”

Worries had also been voiced in Terrington St Clement before the verges along the A17, including those at the Station Road junction, were cut.

Jason Shaw, who formed the Norfolk A17 Action Now group last year to campaign for that junction to be improved, told the Lynn News that members spent “a lot of time and effort behind the scenes to get the verges cut”.

However, Mr Shaw shared emails with the county council’s highways department in which staff originally said “the defect does not currently meet our intervention criteria”.

The verges at Terrington now appear to have been trimmed.

The council’s website adds: “Roadside verges are cut for road safety purposes to maintain visibility at junctions and to provide room for people to walk on the pavement.

“We have two grass cutting schedules for our roads - one for roads in urban areas and another for rural roads.

“We cut grass verges along the majority of Norfolk's roads between May and September each year.”



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