I have covered this rather odd matter before on this blog site but to recap the issue is this.
Along Eastway there are hedges both sides of the road that belong to Maghull Town Council. The hedges bound Whinneybrook Field on one side and Glenn Park on the other. Also along the A59 (Northway) The Town Council has a hedge that bounds KGV Park where Maghull Town Hall is sited.
Both of these sites have not been getting their hedges cut over the last couple of years and by that I mean regularly cut. They have both had an end of growing season cut very recently (early November) but up until then the hedges have been significantly over grown and almost wild.
In 2015 I related a story about a partially sighted chap who lives in Eastway who walked into the barbs of the overgrown hawthorn hedging along that road. He had to contact the Town Council to ask them to cut the hedges back I understand. He raised the matter with me as well at the time and again this year.
I was a member of Maghull Town Council for 30 years (until May 2015) so some folks must still think that I am because I have also been contacted by a lady asking if I could assist her in getting hedges cut back in Maghull. As you may have noticed from the text above this has finally now happened.
BUT why does this problem keep manifesting itself each summer? I recall that during my time on the Town Council a tractor was purchased (and a hedge cutting flail arm for it too) so that the Council’s many hundreds of yards of hedging across the Town could be effectively and efficiently cut. That machinery could do the job quickly and my recollection is it took just 2 groundsman to operate it i.e. one driving the tractor and a second one acting as banksman to keep people and animals away from the cutting.
I say all this because the lady who contacted me recently said that she had been told by the Council that there were effectively three reasons why the hedges are no longer being cut i.e. that legislation won’t allow hedges to be cut before 31 July, a lack of man power and antiquated machinery.
Well as you can read above the Town Council did have the machinery to cut the hedges and it was far from being antiquated so what has it done with it?
A lack of manpower (and womanpower too)? I know that the Town Council now takes on grounds maintenance jobs as it is trying to operate as a business on top of looking after the Town’s 75+ acres of parks, gardens and play areas. This was starting to happen during my last couple of years on the Council and I recall saying back then that it should not be allowed to impact on the standard of parks maintenance. Are we to assume that it has and that commercial activities of the Council are taking a preference to maintenance of the Towns parks and gardens?
And what about that nesting birds issue? It is true that the advice given to us all is that we should refrain from cutting hedges from 1st March until 31st July (some advice says 31st August) due to nesting birds. If I understand the legislation correctly, if you knowingly cut a hedge where there are nesting birds in this period you are breaking the law.
There are of course caveats to the law such as if the hedge is next to a public highway and not cutting it will create health and safety issues. In such circumstances ways should be found to cut the hedge. The hedges I am aware of in Maghull which folk are most concerned about are all next to pavements and it should surely not need a partially blind chap to protest to the Council before it addresses such hedges in my view.
So there you have it. I don’t know all the ins and outs as I am no longer a Maghull Town Councillor but should the Town Council wish to tell Maghull residents about its hedge cutting policy/problems then I am sure such information would be welcomed.