Road campaigners Leigh Banks and Andrea Martin were furious when Staffordshire County Council demanded they uncover a deadly stretch of pavement or face court.
The couple are fighting to rid the A519 of four million vehicles a year but say they were told that it’s their hedge putting villagers’ lives at risk.
Leigh said: “I can’t believe it – there are cars crashing in to houses along this road, cars turning over, an HGV skidding down the road on its side. But the only clear and present danger as far as the council were concerned is our hedge.
“The letter says that the hedge is likely to ‘endanger pedestrians and likely to obstruct pedestrians. You will be held liable for any claims or damages which arise due to the condition of the hedge’.
“They were asking us to undertake a suicide mission. Very often there is one HGV a minute thundering by – and we get six or seven hundred vehicles an hour at times.
“They expected us to stand in the road on ladders and cut back a 15 feet long 30ft high hedge.”
Leigh and Andrea were particularly furious as the pavement the council wants to uncover is less than 24 inches wide: “You couldn’t walk along it in safety let alone push a baby chair along it.”
Bill Cash MP and Staffordshire has joined the fight to rescue the historic A519 after it was revealed that Staffordshire county council are allowing millions a year to use it as an unofficial by-pass.
Andrea said: “Are these really the people who are running our lives and deciding what is important?”
The county council eventually dropped court action and cut the hedge themselves. For health and safety reasons they installed traffic lights and closed the road for quarter of a mile.