Warning sign hidden, says teen driver

10:11am Friday 30th May 2014

GRASS cutting now has its own county council cabinet member.

The decision follows a public petition protesting the plan to reduce grass cutting in Herefordshire from seven to three times a year.

And it comes after a young driver crashed his car into a field because a warning sign ahead of a sharp bend was obscured by long grass.

The roads and transport portfolio handed to Cllr Paul Rone has a brief for “close liaison” with the council’s contract partner Balfour Beatty over delivery of the annual maintenance plan, which includes grass cutting and street cleaning.

Cllr Rone went hands on with his new brief this week having bought a mower with his member’s allowance to work with businessman Aaron Mullen and other volunteers to keep the city’s sports pitches in order.

One pair who would like to see more mowing are Rhys Evans and his friend Jacob Thompson, 19.

They were travelling to Tillington from Hereford in separate cars when Rhys – who has been driving for eight months – left the road.

He had not seen a warning sign ahead of a bend due to long grass and drove his car into a field.

The friends, from Lower Bullingham, had been travelling in convoy when Jacob – who was in front – lost sight of his friend.

“When I went back and saw the car, I thought ‘oh my God he’s dead’,” said Jacob.

“But his worst injury was from a stinging nettle from crawling out,”

After the pair had calmed down, they realised the sign was hidden in the verge.

“I don’t know how he survived it,” Jacob added. “It annoys me that the accident could have been prevented if the sign was visible.”

In a statement, Herefordshire Council said a team from Balfour Beatty Living Places had been dispatched to ensure the warning sign is situated in its correct position and it is not obscured by vegetation.

Council leader Cllr Tony Johnson said the authority would talk to “anyone” who could make a contribution to grass cutting.

“What’s going on is not Balfour Beatty’s fault, they’re doing what we asked of them,” said Cllr Tony Johnson.

“I’m anxious to address the present situation, but I can’t and won’t bust the budget to do so.”

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