Hedgerow blocking Ashington path forces walkers into busy carriageway

JPCT 200614 S14260688x  Ashington.  Dangerous hedgerow on A24 -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140620-091410001
JPCT 200614 S14260688x Ashington. Dangerous hedgerow on A24 -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140620-091410001

“How long before an accident?” asks a villager who is constantly forced to step onto the A24 due to hedgerow blocking the pavement.

Sullington couple Alan Murray, 62, and Stefanie Parnell, 48, enjoy their regular walks through Ashington, but have had to place their lives in ‘danger’ by stepping onto a busy dual carriageway to avoid an unrestricted stretch of trees and shrubs.

Mr Murray said: “Now we are forced onto the carriageway ourselves, and have seen others being forced to do the same when we have been driving. How long before an accident?”

The blocked pathway, located opposite Kate’s Cakes, is commonly used by walkers and cyclists as a means to visit the village.

“This pavement is surprisingly well used,” he said.

“With people walking from Ashington to their work. The pavement is also a lifeline to people from Spring Gardens and surrounding areas who wish to shop and see friends in Ashington.”

The issue was first spotted last year by the couple.

“We got really annoyed because our jackets were ripped where the brambles got caught. It’s dangerous,” said Mrs Parnell.

Concerned for the safety of villagers, Mrs Parnell contacted West Sussex County Council’s Highways department last month to have the hedgerow cut back.

In a response to Mrs Parnell’s email the county council stated on May 19: “We will arrange for the Community Support Team to cut back the vegetation.”

Since, Mrs Parnell has been in touch with the council again, but the pathway remains blocked.

“They said they would get the Community Support Team, which doesn’t sound like a proper tree surgeon,” she said. “It’s the Highways responsibility to keep these paths clear, especially along the carriageway.”

Now, Mrs Parnell and Mr Murray said they would like a councillor to visit the location in person.

“I’d like one of the councillors to go on the pavement - no ducking out - and get all the brambles and branches in their face,” said Mrs Parnell.

Ashington Parish Council has also been in correspondence with the county council to try to rectify the situation. The County Times contacted the West Sussex County Council but were unable to get a response before going to press.

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