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Poll: Is Cromer councillor right to trim weeds on overgrown public footpaths?

Local councillor Hilary Thompson pruning an overgrown public footpath near Holway Close, Roughton.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Local councillor Hilary Thompson pruning an overgrown public footpath near Holway Close, Roughton. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2012

A public-spirited Cromer councillor has urged walkers to “snip as you go” to stop footpaths becoming overgrown.

Hilary Thompson has taken to walking the local paths with secateurs in hand, trimming and pruning back weeds to keep them clear.

It comes after a summer of concerns about paths becoming overgrown - but Mrs Thompson said the Big Society approach did not “exonerate” Norfolk County Council from its duty to keep footpaths clear.

Mrs Thompson, a Cromer town, district and county councillor, said: “I can’t ride my bicycle because I’ve got an injured arm. I can’t even swim, and was feeling quite frumpy.

“So I have been walking. Somebody rang me a couple of months ago about the footpath between Roughton Road and Metton Road, near Cromer.

“Almost every day I have been going up there to walk it and trim back the undergrowth. I’ve also found other footpaths that need trimming back.

“I got some secateurs that are left- or right-handed. If everybody did the same when they were out walking, it would make a big difference.

“It’s good for me and good for everybody else who uses the paths.”

And, though she urged people to do it in the spirit of the Big Society, she added: “This doesn’t exonerate the county council, which still has a duty to keep the footpaths clear.”

The arm injury is the result of a fall from a cycle during a ride to Germany two years ago. Mrs Thompson said she had delayed having it looked at, so that doctors did not advise her to cancel last year’s trek to Everest base camp.

She has had the arm and shoulder immobilised for the last six weeks.

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