Hedge removal puts village events ‘in jeopardy’

A playing field committee says its events are in jeopardy after contractors removed their hedge without warning.

The Upwell Playing Field Committee (UPFC) complained to Norfolk County Council (NCC) about the removal of a hedge on the boundary of Upwell Playing Field, which they said they were not informed about.

Contractors took down the hedge in November 2019 as a result of a passing bay being put in on Stonehouse Road, which was part of a planning condition for a house being built on Green Road.

UPFC, a charity that owns and maintains Upwell playing field, said the future of activities such as its Horse and Pony Show were now in danger.

It said it had requested that a 5ft fence be put in as a replacement but was instead given a 4ft one that was “not fit for purpose”.

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But Norfolk County Council said fast growing hedging would be planted.

Christine Aston, UPFC Chair, said: “We’ve been passed from pillar to post.

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“We had to accept the hedge and fences were gone so it needed to be replaced. We gave them specifications but what they’ve put in is a farce.

“The Horse and Pony show on Saturday, April 18, is one of our main fundraising events and we have a duty of safety when we carry out public events.

“Heavy horses such as Shires and Clydesdales attend the shows and they would think nothing of jumping 4ft and could barge over the fence that Highways have allowed to be erected.”

South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss met with members of the committee and councillors at Upwell Playing Field on Friday, March 13 to discuss the issue and said she would contact Highways to ask that a higher fence and hedge be put in.

Ms Truss said: “Well clearly it’s a big problem for the horse and pony show, the fence that’s currently there isn’t very visible. “The county council have created the situation and need to rectify it.”

A Norfolk County Council spokesman said: “It is common for highway improvements, required as part of a planning application, to be put in place by the developer following standard specifications.

“We understand a fence is now in place at this location and fast growing hedging is to be planted.”

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