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+2 votes
The power of social media to bring down a Council.

Just when you think you've heard it all, a story like this pops up to take your breath away - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/ck77l2g2nw0o

I'd be happy to have this "criminal" in any of my parishes.

The confrontational tone of the resignation statement on the About Us page of their website speaks volumes about the personalities involved. When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging!
by (54.1k points)

4 Answers

0 votes
Absolutely. I'd have gone out and helped and or bought him something out of my own pocket as thankyou. I just hope the whole experience has not put him off been community minded as been reported to the Police can feel incredibly stressful.
by (9.1k points)
0 votes
I think Adam and his family should stand for the vacancies on the parish council and show them how its done.

What a bunch of (modesty prevents me saying the word I'm thinking of ) clowns!
by (10.6k points)
0 votes

There is much left unanswered, or of dubious reporting quality, within the BBC news article. 

 - Opening with a focus upon a "young man's help" and his reported autism really sets the tone for an article which lacks factual reference and objectivity of assessment of the actual circumstances seeking rather to favour the sensationalism of drawing upon the personal angle and ignoring the factual.

 - Most likely a community spirited act of good faith which is probably why there has (quite rightly) not been any follow-up to the police involvement - neither significantly 'serious' nor in the public interest.  It would have been a VERY different story if the actions had caused or contributed to a road traffic accident.

 - Probably some poorly chosen words of criticism from whomever - I looked at the PC webpage but not the local social media. 

Basic facts completely missing from the media report:

 - It could be an act of criminal damage to intentionally deprive an owner of their property or to damage it.  This absolutely includes trees, hedges and vegetation.

 - Trees and hedges are often the source of neighbour dispute.  If property owner A allows his tree (including branches and roots) to encroach upon property owner B's land, B may (there are certain caveats) remedy the encroachment by cutting back to the boundary.  That which is removed from A's tree remains the property of A when cut and so should be offered back to them.

 - That aside, there is no mention of the lad being a party owner so the right to self abatement would not exist - he might be able to claim that he was cutting back to maintain his unobstructed right of way but that seems unlikely in this circumstance.

 - The correct course of action for clearing a public footpath is to inform the highway authority of the issue and allow them, if appropriate, to initiate s154 of the Highways Act which can be used to compel a landowner to remedy obstruction of a highway - especially, as the headline pic indicates, possible obstruction of a road speed sign.

 - It is also possible that the grass verges were being intentionally allowed to grow as part of the ever increasing awareness of the importance of biodiversity and that needless mowing and cutting is completely unnecessary, costly and harmful to the environment.

Perhaps, the young man just got stuck in and did what he thought was right at the time.  But - an autistic lad working in the highway margin of a 40mph road?  There is no mention of a licence to work in the highway margin, training and qualification for street works, high viz clothing and appropriate signing, lighting and guarding for street works.  All very dull right up to the point where there is an accident and the signing, lighting and guarding is not only to protect the worker but it is also to warn, inform and direct the traffic.   

Such a very unfortunate and unnecessary outcome for the council but there also remains the question - should the council have even commented?  Highway obstruction is a Highways (whether National or LA) issue.  

The PC really had no part to play in this.  

The well intentioned can often result in circumstances way beyond the thought processes of the willing but poorly informed / equipped.  I suspect many PCs suffer / benefit* (delete as appropriate) from such unilateral voluntary actions.

by (22.2k points)
0 votes
Maybe they should get their own house in order before accusing other people of criminal offences. Only 1 of their councillors has registered their interests. Do they all really have no interests?
by (5.0k points)

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