Alice Cowdrey is a reporter for the Stratford Press.

Roundabout planting report requested for Stratford

Are the town's roundabout plantings getting too high?
Are the town's roundabout plantings getting too high?

Stratford's mayor has asked council staff to provide a report which reassess the town's roundabout plantings.

During the Stratford District Council Policy and Services Committee meeting last Tuesday, Mayor Neil Volzke said the height of the roundabout plantings were frequently being complained about.

"Is there any possibility we can reassess what we use as plantings? Perhaps we could use something equally attractive but with less height."

Furthermore, Neil says residents expressed concerns about the the height of the plants during a customer satisfaction survey which was recently conducted by council.

He said he regularly fields complaints from people when he is out and about.

"Most councillors have probably received similar comments."

Council staff will look into the concerns raised and what alternatives there are and will write a report on their findings.

Neil says the New Zealand Transport Agency owns the roundabout but the council maintained the plantings. He says those who had expressed concerns over the height of the plantings were worried about safety as they couldn't see what cars were straight ahead of them.

While not everyone shares this concern, it was an arguable point whether people should be worrying about what was ahead of them or whether they should just pay attention to cars coming from their right, he says.

Councillors agreed several years ago to planting out the roundabouts, but the plants seem to have shot up to quite a height.

"Personally, I have an open mind about the issue but if there are enough people concerned we should be looking into it."

Cr Grant Boyde says he has brought the issue up twice at council.

Chief executive Sven Hanne says it is important to note that the design for the planting of the roundabout was made by elected members and the chief executive at the time as part of a flagship project for Stratford to beautify the entrances of the town. This meant it was totally appropriate for elected members to change the plantings if they wanted. However there had been a significant investment in the plantings.

"Whatever you do, make a good decision - it's not cheap," he said.

Dylan Thomsen, an AA spokesperson, says while AA members in Taranaki haven't raised any issues with the AA about the roundabouts in Stratford "we'll certainly be taking a close look at them now".

He says 17 per cent of injury crashes last year involved a driver failing to see another party, "so being able to clearly see other vehicles is extremely important. Plants on roundabouts should be kept to sizes that don't block the view of people on the roads".

Dylan says drivers need to be aware of all other vehicles around them at roundabouts, "but in particular whether vehicles will be travelling across their path from the right, as those are the ones they need to give way to".

- Stratford Press

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