The fight to have a crumbling footpath repaired was stepped up this week with residents asking Lincolnshire County Council ‘what price it puts on their lives?’
An 80 yard stretch of pavement beside Spalding’s Cowbit Road has been sealed off for months with metal barriers fixed into the ground either end. Part of the closed pavement near the junction with Fen End Lane has collapsed and nearby there are two sandbags embedded in big holes in the tarmac.
One vulnerable resident, David Stratton (67), lost his footing and fell down the embankment in March 2015. Neighbours say he lay injured and undiscovered overnight and needed hospital surgery.
There’s no path on the other side of the road, leaving people to risk injury by walking on the crumbling path or dice with death by stepping onto a road where cars and lorries travel at 60-70mph along a sweeping, blind bend.
Mum Louisa Malone (38) says the council barriers have made her journeys to town with son Matthew, four months, more dangerous.
She said: “I normally push the pram along the path but I have to go out into the road to get around the safety barriers.”
County councillor Alan Jesson says the barriers are there to cover the county council’s “backside” in case anyone makes a claim.
He said: “It’s not a safety measure, it’s an insurance measure.”
Councillors are united in their fight to have the path repaired and the speed limit lowered to 30mph until that work is done.
The path is in district councillor Harry Drury’s St Mary’s Ward and he’s launched a petition on behalf of residents of Fen End Lane and Burr Lane to have the Cowbit Road (B1173) 30mph speed limit extended to the roundabout on the A16.
District councillor and ex-London policeman Graham Dark says the spot is most dangerous when pedestrians are in the road and vehicles meet at high speed from opposite directions.
“I have lost count of the fatal and serious injury accidents I have been to,” said Coun Dark. “This road is very, very dangerous especially when pedestrians are walking in the road with cars coming up behind them.
“If cars meet from opposite directions, they will have a choice – hit each other or hit the pedestrian.”
Fen End Lane resident Brian Fowler said: “I think somebody is going to get killed up there before long. I have been close to being knocked down.”
Mr Stratton can’t remember much about his fall but says the path is dangerous and should be repaired because “it’s the only way to Little London”.
The council closed the footpath on Cowbit Road, also known as Barrier Bank, in December 2013 saying it was unsafe.
County council senior highways officer Maxine Stukins said this week: “Unfortunately the county council cannot afford to repair the footpath at Barrier Bank.
“The council needs to reduce its spending on services by £42million for this year alone, and this repair would cost in the region of £200,000, which is money that we don’t have.
“We have fully considered all of the available options including installing a temporary speed limit. We cannot legally do this as the footpath would then need to be repaired within 18 months, and we don’t think funding will become available within this time-frame.
“We have installed warning signs to make motorists aware that people could be walking in the road and to take extra caution. We did consult the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership on this who were happy with our approach.
“We understand this isn’t the action that some residents would like to see, but unfortunately it is the best that we can do at present.”
When asked about the metal barriers cemented into the pavement, a council spokesman said: “We have no concerns about the barrier itself, and it’s in place for a reason.”
To sign the petition, click on the following link