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Overgrown Hedges in Speldhurst Parish

By Katie Neve - Speldhurst Parish Council

Monday, 19 June 2023


Speldhurst Parish Council Contributor


Overgrown hedges on roads and pavements can be a thorny issue for Speldhurst Parish at this time of year. So, we're here to help with the answers to some of your most common questions. We hope you find them useful.

Whose responsibility is it to cut back overgrown hedges?

If a hedge is growing out of a resident/landowner’s boundary, it is their responsibility to cut it. If a hedge or grass verge is growing on ‘common ground’ (for example the grass verge along Langton/Speldhurst Rd) it’s Kent County Council’s responsibility. To report overgrown pavements/verges on common ground visit Roads and travel - Kent County Council/report a problem.

There are exceptions to this rule, such as a piece of land that originally belonged to a developer where the deeds have not been transferred and the developer is no longer contactable. KCC will then assume responsibility. With these grey areas it can take time to establish ownership.

It's so frustrating! Why can’t people just look after their hedges?

Well, they might have birds nesting in their hedge, in which case it’s illegal to do any hedgecutting. We also find some residents are genuinely unaware of the problem when we speak to them about their overgrown hedges, because they’ve been away or working long hours. Others have a cut scheduled for a few weeks’ time and have been caught out by the early growing season. Then there are the elderly/infirm who can no longer manage their hedges by themselves. In these cases, some struggle to find a contractor to do the job, and others can’t afford this option anyway. This can be very distressing.

I have to walk in the road with my pushchair/walking frame because of someone’s overgrown hedge. What can I do?

All residents should, of course, be able to walk safely around their village. Unfortunately, the many benefits to living in a semi-rural location are also the disadvantages. Narrow pavements are one of them – so any hedges encroaching the pavement, even by a foot, become a safety hazard.

We advise talking to the resident first, keeping an open mind about why they might not be maintaining their hedge. Offer to help if you can, even if it’s just snipping off the worst of the overgrowth (always useful to have secateurs in your pocket when you’re out and about!).

If this doesn’t work, the parish council can write to residents with a gentle reminder, but we are not the deciding authority. If a hedge remains uncut this should be reported to KCC as a last resort. Over the garden hedge - GOV.UK ( gives further advice on this point.

Some landowners are slow to cut the hedges bordering their fields. How do we get in touch with them?

We are in contact with some, so do check with us. Otherwise, report it to KCC using the ‘report a problem’ webpage as before, then they can contact the landowner. We have sometimes found that KCC finds it simpler to do the work themselves, budget allowing.

My hedge has gone crazy this year – how do I stay on top of it?

We understand that the milder winters caused by global warming are making the growing season start earlier. One option is to give your hedge a good cutting back in the autumn, followed by further trims in the winter. Even then, you will see re-growth by early May.

Any more advice?

To finish, the ‘birdsong and blackberries’ life we all love in Speldhurst Parish is only made possible by the trees and hedgerows growing here. If we all work together to look after them, we will all be happier.

Contact Information

Katie Neve -

  • 01892 862927
  • 07760 769513

Find Speldhurst Parish Council

Langton Green Recreation Ground, Speldhurst Road, Speldhurst, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN3 0JJ