Throughout Sutton Benger and Draycot Cerne are small pieces of land that are service strips or areas of Wiltshire Council land that are not actively mown.
SBPC proposes a caretaker scheme where residents and neighbours pledge to manage an identified piece of land.
The WCC Grass Cutting Map shows the strips (marked in green) that are maintained by WCC. These are not available for residents to manage and maintain.
This is not about ownership but rather about local people caring for a parcel of land to enhance its appearance and provide community interest and well-being.
Funds for seeds and gardening supplies can be applied for (up to £25) by using the SBPC Community Grant scheme. As well, a small plaque can be sited near the green to confirm the caretakers.
The Parish Clerk will hold a register of those interested parties.
Please see the information below for advice about Service Strips and Public Highway Grass Verges and what can or cannot be done to the land.
How grass verges on public highways are maintained
A “service strip” is an area of public highway grass verge, normally but not always the same width as a pavement, between the road and your private boundary. This may be physically shown by “highway boundary” marker blocks in the verge, which must not be removed.
What is a service strip for?
The service strip can be used by the public utility companies (such as gas and water companies) to install and access their equipment. It also acts as a pedestrian refuge and, if necessary, vision splay (allowing a clear view of the road).
Can I lawfully obtain the service strip?
Usually not: as an essential part of the highway network a servicestrip cannot be deemed surplus to highway requirements.
Can I put up a fence or wall on the service strip?
No. It is unlawful to erect any structure which would encroach upon it. We have a duty to protect public use of the service strip and can take legal steps to formally request removal of such a structure.
Can I plant a hedge or shrubs in the service strip?
No: a hedge or shrubs would also prevent public access and be unlawful. However, it would be reasonable for you to plant bulbs, summer or winter bedding plants as they would be classed as temporary.
Can I replace the grass of the service strip with gravel or paving?
You should not alter the existing surface. We take no responsibility for unauthorised, uninsured work on the highway and if there is an accident or incident you could be held liable for damages or compensation.
How can I stop vehicles parking on the service strip?
It is not designed or intended for parking and we do not support it. But, if it is not causing an obstruction any vehicle may park on the public highway provided it is taxed and legal.
What about grass cutting?
The layout is intended to encourage you to cut the grass over the service strip, which will enhance the appearance of your property.
Local authority grass cutting contractors are generally unable to attend to service strips as often as you would like. Please refer to the map of grass currently being maintained by Wiltshire Council, which is marked in lime green.
Need Some Growing Advice?
Check out the BBC Gardeners’ World web site where you will find three great tips on how to create a mini meadow.
Areas owned & maintained by Wiltshire Council Highways Department
The red hatching in the following two plans shows the extent of Wiltshire Highways owned & maintained areas. Any areas that you wish to maintain that fall within the Highways ownership would require you to have a Section 142 licence.
An area of grass not on the grass map in front of a garden going down to the kerbside, with no pavement, can be maintained without a licence application.
You can apply for a Section 142 Licence from Wiltshire Council Highways to maintain the grass verges from:
Mr Richard Dobson
Tel: 01249 706951