Leon Arundell of the North Canberra Community Council is forced to walk on the grass due to the over grown hedge that covers the footpath on Chapman Street in Braddon.

Leon Arundell of the North Canberra Community Council is forced to walk on the grass due to the over grown hedge that covers the footpath on Chapman Street in Braddon. Photo: Jay Cronan

This could be the hedge that reignites Canberra's front yard shrubbery war.

The Braddon beast has grown to devour the footpath in front of two Chapman Street houses.

But instead of ordering radical surgery to make the pavement passable again, the territory government has agreed to move the footpath instead.

Pedestrian advocates say the arrangement is a fair compromise, but it could enrage residents in other ''old'' inner northern and southern suburbs who have been subjected to a hardline policy by Territory and Municipal Services on front yard hedges and footpaths.

TAMS bureaucrats reached a compromise in 2008 with Chapman Street residents, allowing for the giant hedge's ''age and attraction to the local streetscape'', that it be spared the pruning shears.

As part of the deal the householders, who first appealed as far back as 2004 to then urban affairs minister Bill Wood, agreed to pay some of the bill for moving the pavement.

After an unexplained delay of more than four years, the job is due to begin early in 2013.

''Following representation in 2004 to the then minister for urban services, Bill Wood, a decision was made to allow the hedge to remain given its age and attraction to the local streetscape,'' a TAMS spokesman said on Tuesday.

''Instead the local residents were asked to make a funding contribution towards widening the footpath to enable public access.

''This contribution was made, but unfortunately the work was not progressed.''

There was trouble between TAMS and the residents of Stokes Street in Griffith in 2008, when householders were forced to radically trim their hedges, despite the bushes being a key part of the heritage streetscape.

The Canberra Times understands that TAMS still follows up on complaints about errant hedges by forcing owners to cut them back.

Pedestrian campaigner Leon Arundell of the group Living Streets said he came across many situations around the city where householders allowed their garden to overgrow footpaths.

''I think the attitude of a lot of people in Canberra is that they just don't consider their neighbours,'' Mr Arundell said.

''They wouldn't grow their gardens out into the road, but they will grow it right across where people are supposed to walk and the government doesn't do anything about it.

''I think we need the government to take an approach that makes sure the footpaths are kept clear or if there is no footpath, then the nature strip needs to be kept clear.''

Mr Arundell said the compromise struck between the Braddon locals and the government was a sensible one.

''This is a beautiful street, apart from the fact that there is a section of footpath that you can't walk on,'' the campaigner said.

''I think it [the agreement] is a great idea and I'm glad to hear that it's not taking money away from other streets that don't have a footpath at all.''