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Spalding residents call for action to be taken against closed footpath

Residents have joined calls for action to be taken to repair a damaged path along a busy road.

Chris Reddin is horrified that the closed section of path on Cowbit Road is still not fixed two years after he had raised a complaint against Lincolnshire County Council with the Local Government Ombudsman.

The county council says that it has closed off the path to keep residents safe and does not have the budget to make the £250,000 repairs necessary.

The closed section of path in Cowbit Road, Spalding (42901488)
The closed section of path in Cowbit Road, Spalding (42901488)

Mr Reddin said: “I am disappointed that it is still not fixed and I cannot get over the arrogance where public safety is at stake.

“This footpath is dangerous taking the public into oncoming traffic which is often exceeding the speed limit.”

Mr Reddin says that the ombudsman found in his favour as the council had not followed its procedures but did not make any recommendations.

He said: “The Road Traffic Regulations Act allows them to close a footpath for three months and thereafter for 18 months only with the approval of the Secretary of State.

“They didn’t obtain a closure order or seek any approval from the Secretary of State.

“I even recommended a means to resolve the problem quickly.

“Sheet piling would be a relatively simple way to do this.”

Stuart Doughty lives on Fen End Lane and uses the path regularly to walk into Spalding.

He said: “It is getting worse over the years as the path is getting narrower and the traffic is getting busier.

“We have had one or two scary moments with lorries and traffic.

“A young lady who lives near us with a baby has to go into Spalding on a daily basis. She struggles as we have seen her walking on the grass verge on the opposite side of the road.

“Parts of it are so uneven.”

South Holland District Councillor Harry Drury has been fighting for action to be taken on the path and the matter was discussed at Spalding Town Forum.

He said: “In light of this information I will be writing to our MP and request that he intervenes and speaks to the county on our behalf.”

Coun Richard Davies, executive member for highways, said:”Whilst I completely understand residents’ frustrations about the closure of this part of the footway on Cowbit Road, the council has closed it off to keep the public safe, and does not need Secretary of State approval to do so.

“We would love to be able to repair and reopen the footway on Cowbit Road. But the fact remains that we cannot afford to spend upwards of £250,000 on 50m of pavement at this time. Works on Boston Road in Gosberton cost about a third of the estimated price of the repairs to Cowbit Road, and the pavement in Gosberton connects to more properties.

“We do not have an unlimited budget to spend on road repairs, and so we can’t do everything we want to at once; we have to prioritise our funding. Repairing this part of Cowbit Road’s footway now would take money directly out of pothole repairs, resurfacing, surface dressing and other schemes to keep roadusers safe.”

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