A resident of Reepham is asking for the town council’s help in getting a “green lane” reclassified.
Helen Lindsay of Hackford Vale has written to both the town and county councils, complaining of repeated damage caused to her fence by drivers of off-road vehicles using Back Lane.
This is an unclassified road that extends from Whitwell Station to the extension of Broomhill Lane and out onto the B1145, and which is maintained by Norfolk County Council.
Ms Lindsay has asked the town council to make a formal request to the county council for reclassification of the track, which she says is suitable only for pedestrians, horses and bicycles – not vehicles. She has also contacted Broadland MP Jerome Mayhew for support.
The off-road vehicle pastime, in which “green laners”, as well as motorbike riders, use dirt tracks, narrow lanes and winding country roads categorised as “byways open to all traffic” is legal and not prohibited by law.
However, Ms Lindsay said green lane drivers frequently use the track in convoys of 6–8 cars that travel at “excessive speed”, posing a risk to the safety of other users, particularly around a blind corner.
“I have observed a couple of near misses when children walked round the bend just minutes before the ‘green laners’ came round it,” she told the councils.
“They are also causing significant damage to my property. The fence posts along the track have been knocked over, broken and generally destroyed until there are few left. I have repaired them, but they just get damaged again.”
Ms Lindsay said that when she has tried to speak to the drivers they are “extremely rude and swear at me as they drive past”.
She has not been able to obtain their vehicle registration numbers as these are often covered. In addition, the off-road vehicles usually travel early in the morning or in the evening “and go by so fast, close to one another, that it is difficult to see the registration numbers.
“They are also causing damage to the ancient hedgerow and banks of the track,” said Ms Lindsay, “and they make deep ruts in the mud in winter.”
According to a Norfolk County Council spokesperson, the only ways to restrict a class of traffic from using certain routes would be to either change the classification of the route or to prevent traffic via a Traffic Regulation Order (the latter is generally designed to maximise safe traffic flow); both these requests usually come via town/parish councils.
However, owing to the concerns raised, the county council said it will carry out a “reactive inspection” of the road.
It is understood that this issue will be on the agenda at the next meeting of Reepham Town Council on Wednesday 13 October.
See our earlier story: