Neighbours who waited nearly six months for dangerous ‘knee-high’ weeds to be cleared from the pavement in their street ended up pulling out the foliage themselves.
A complaint was made after an elderly woman tripped on the overgrown vegetation but the council responsible failed to take any action.
Residents ended up arming themselves with gardening gloves, trowels and other utensils and cleared the pathway during four trips over six weeks.
A growing number of communities around the country have been complaining about dense weeds growing on pavements as local authorities cut spending. Some have also stopped using week killer for environmental reasons.
Concerns were raised about the weeds in the area after Ruth Nobbs, 90, tripped over them on the way to see a friend in April last year.
A complaint was made after an elderly woman tripped on the overgrown vegetation but the council responsible failed to take any action
Economics student James Hawketts, 20, (pictured) who took part in the clear-up operation in North Park Avenue, Norwich
Economics student James Hawketts, 20, who took part in the clear-up operation in North Park Avenue, Norwich, said
The widower, who used to help create new products for the town’s Macintosh’s sweet factory, said: ‘My friend lives near the green and we like to go shopping together.
‘The last time I went to see her I tripped and fell. I didn’t hurt myself but I was shaken up.
‘We asked the council to come and clear it but they didn’t come. I said to her [her friend] ‘I daren’t come up to you anymore because I catch my stick in the grass’.’
Mrs Nobbs added: ‘Now I can go up there. It’s given me my freedom back. People should have their freedom.’
A woman in her 60s who has lived next to the path for 40 years said: ‘The council used to spray the weeds but after they stopped it got bad. The grass was about six inches high, in between the paving stones.
‘I use two crutches and it’s very difficult to walk when it’s like that as my legs don’t lift up. I get my feet caught in it.
‘Council tax has gone up but you seem to get less.’
Economics student James Hawketts, 20, who took part in the clear-up operation in North Park Avenue, Norwich, said: ‘It was knee-high in places, like savannah grass.
A complaint about the state of the pavement was lodged with the city council in April but they said it was Norfolk County Council’s responsibility, according to Mr Hawketts, who is a Lib Dem candidate for the ward
The county council then said their contractors should have tackled the problem before later saying they would fix it but they ‘still did nothing’
‘It was particularly bad for people who are hard of movement or elderly. We heard about it because an elderly woman slipped on the weeds.’
A complaint about the state of the pavement was lodged with the Labour-controlled city council in April but they said it was Tory-run Norfolk County Council’s responsibility, according to Mr Hawketts, who is a Lib Dem candidate for the ward.
The county council then said their contractors should have tackled the problem before later saying they would fix it but they ‘still did nothing’.
They have since stated they treat weeds annually, although staff inspect footways ‘regularly to ensure they are safe for pedestrians’.
Mr Hawkett said: ‘They can’t say they inspect this every year – there’s no way that’s true. You don’t get that growth in a year. It hadn’t been touched for years.’
‘That path is not difficult to maintain but it took us a while because it had been abandoned for so long.
‘The grass on either side of the pathway is maintained by the city council – on one side it’s in front of houses, some of which are council houses, and on the other it’s [the verge] next to the road.
‘But both councils have been cutting back on a lot of things and in some cases have given up on maintenance.’
Up to six volunteers met over a six-week period, ending last month, to clear the pavement
Up to six volunteers met over a six-week period, ending last month, to clear the pavement.
Some of the foliage was placed in residents’ garden waste bins. Refuse bags were also filled and taken away to place in composters.
Norwich City Council said: ‘We have been clear throughout it’s the highways authority’s responsibility and it has agreed.’
Norfolk County Council added: ‘We treat weeds on the footpaths in this area annually, rather than more regularly, to help prevent damage, and our teams inspect footways regularly to ensure they are safe for pedestrians year-round.’
In September, MailOnline revealed how streets across Britain were being choked by weeds as councils look for ways to cut costs and also stopped using a chemical spray they claimed harms wildlife.
Residents already hit by huge council tax increases were having to form their own weeding patrols.
Yvonne Wright, who formed a Civic Pride Team of pensioners to do the job of council contractors at Tottington in Bury, Greater Manchester, said at the time: ‘These plants taking over feels like a scene from The Day of the Triffids.’
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