On the verge of disintegration

Letter to Welwyn Hatfield Times


Dear Sir

One of your correspondents last week complained about the state of the grass verges in our towns and the lack of action by the councils to reduce the damage done. I totally agree; the verges are part of the planned landscape, part of what makes WGC and Hatfield so different from most other towns.

Other Councils in Hertfordshire are far better at this than our own. Stevenage are gradually extending bans on verge and footpath parking across the town, and ticketing offenders; St Albans have notices up in nearby Colney Heath about this. If they can do it, why not here?

The current by-law in Welwyn Hatfield about verge parking is unenforceable. Requests by several county councillors, including myself, for the Borough Council to draw up an effective policy have been rebuffed, except for an order for a small part of Handside, which will come into effect in a few weeks time.

There are certainly some roads where a complete ban would be too much, given the lack of parking, and these could be exempted, until the council provides more parking.

The point made by your correspondent about forcing pedestrians to walk in the road is correct. I have twice recently had replies from WHBC officers saying they would not take action over vehicles causing this and pedestrian should walk in the road; thankfully, the police take a firmer view.

Finally, I have used part of my locality budget to restore some verges and protect some more, but it cannot be down to individual Councillors to act alone. We need a town-wide approach.

Yours sincerely

Malcolm Cowan

LibDem county and borough councillor

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