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Save our Norwich verges - plea

PUBLISHED: 06:23 18 March 2010 | UPDATED: 08:57 02 July 2010

Jo Clarke, right, and Pat Cole, members of the Earlham Road Residents Association, unhappy at the damage cars have caused to the crocus-covered verges.

Jo Clarke, right, and Pat Cole, members of the Earlham Road Residents Association, unhappy at the damage cars have caused to the crocus-covered verges.

Peter Walsh

A grandmother-of-four has embarked on a campaign to help save our city's verges - by urging motorists to stop driving over them to ensure that they are here to be enjoyed throughout the summer and beyond.

The crocus-covered verges on Earlham Road.

A grandmother-of-four has embarked on a campaign to help save our city's verges - by urging motorists to stop driving over them to ensure that they are here to be enjoyed throughout the summer and beyond.

Jo Clarke, 71, has lived on Earlham Road with her husband Peter, since 1972 and loves the crocus-lined look that many of the verges near here are sporting this spring.

But the mother-of-three is worried that this particular scene of urban serenity might be shattered by irresponsible drivers using verges as a short cut to their homes or visiting friends in the area.

Mrs Clarke said her fears have been heightened by a recent letter from City Hall which warns motorists that although parking on grass verges is prohibited, driving over them is not.

She said: “At the moment they're looking lovely with all the crocuses out, but what has been disturbing is the letter which said that parking on the verges was prohibited, but not driving over them. I'm not very happy - it needs to be brought home how important these verges are.”

But a spokeswoman for Norwich City Council said the protection of grass verges was an important issue and that people were not allowed to drive over them - except for in certain circumstances.

She said: “People are not legally allowed to drive over grass verges, and the council can take steps to enforce this.

“However, when considering enforcement action, we take a number of factors into account and judge on a case by case basis.

“In some cases, people do not have concrete accesses to their driveways and it would be dangerous for them to park on busy roads such as Earlham Road, which is why the parking restriction is in place. While it does help to protect the verges as an added bonus, it is primarily there to ensure people do not park in a way which endangers other road users.

“In the interests of public safety, we are always looking at the best way to resolve these issues and for a few people the best option is to drive over the verges to reach their homes.”

Mrs Clarke, a member of the Earlham Road Residents Association, said she was just one of a number of people in the area who felt the same way about protecting the verges.

She said: “A lot of us do feel strongly about these verges - we've really got to do all we can to protect them.

“It's brought home to us when we can look out and see the site of the spring bulbs that are there. If these grass verges disappear the money that's needed to reinstate them the council will probably say we can't afford it. We feel something must be done before they disappear altogether.”

Is your life being blighted by dangerous drivers? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archanrt.co.uk

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