Fears over danger footpath

Coun Alan Jesson with Stuart Doughty, Eric Murray and Brian Fowler next to a deteriorating footpath off Cowbit Road, Spalding.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
Coun Alan Jesson with Stuart Doughty, Eric Murray and Brian Fowler next to a deteriorating footpath off Cowbit Road, Spalding. Photo by Tim Wilson.
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A footpath in Spalding where a vulnerable man fell down an embankment and lay undiscovered overnight has led to a row between pedestrians and highways managers.

People living near Cowbit Road want a footpath they use to walk to and from Spalding town centre repaired so that they can avoid having to walk on the busy road itself where cars and HGVs travel at speeds of up to 60mph.

In March, a 64-year-old man from Fen End Lane fell down a steep bank and into hedging while walking home from the town centre.

The man was left in the hedging overnight until his carers raised the alarm when police and paramedics discovered him just a few minutes walk from his home.

Brian Fowler (67) of Fen End Lane, said: “I’ve lived here for 40 years and the problem has developed as the footpath has been giving way and the hesitation of the county council in doing anything about it.

“It keeps saying that the cost of repair goes up, but it will do when you have HGVs going along Cowbit Road and Barrier Bank.

“There are cones out where the man fell down the embankment while on his way home from town and no one has seen him walk along the footpath since it happened.

“But closing off the footpath means we are taking our lives into our own hands by walking in the road, so the issue is getting it repaired.”

The call for action has been backed by Coun Alan Jesson, Lincolnshire County Council member for Spalding South, who wants a temporary walkway installed, similar to those used when roadworks are taking place across the county.

Coun Jesson said: “The footpath was due to be repaired after the general election but when I contacted the highways department, they stated that the cost of repair had escalated from £97,000 to £200,000.

“They also said that there were issues with the Environment Agency because the area protects people living in Fen End Lane and Burr Lane from flooding.

“A ‘Footpath Closed’ sign has now been put up, obviously to stop people using it.

“But as this is the only footpath into Spalding along this busy road, the council has left residents no alternative but to walk in the road which I have told them is unacceptable.”

A Lincolnshire County Council highways spokesman was unable to get a statement to us in time for today’s Free Press.