Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 11, 2017

The Unending Saga Of Footpath 25

23 January 2017. To Cnty Cllr O’Toole in whose county division lies Footpath 25…”I am writing with some urgency to advise you of the serious deterioration of the concrete post and wooden fencing at the Junction of Footpath 25 and The Serpentine. This matter has been raised by me on several occasions, to warn councillors that the concrete post is being forced over by roots of a nearby large tree. I have reported that this footpath is used by parents who park their cars in The Serpentine and walk their children to Town Green School via Prescot Road. Today the concrete post has tilted to an even more dangerous angle, taking some of the wooden fencing with it. I hope I am still not having to remind you of this problem with the serious consequences of an accident to a child if it is ignored any longer. I attach pictures  taken a few minutes ago”.

Same day from Cllr O’Toole… I have reported your concerns to the appropriate LCC dept. David O’Toole Conservative Whip LCC.

We move on over a period of months, during which the connection of Footpath 25 and its junction with The Serpentine is ignored and denied as a LCC responsibility, including a statement by them of it NOT being on a public right of way. We had an “unknown” contractor at the Prescot Road end of Footpath 25 doing some remedial work to bushes there, denied as being authorised by LCC. But that is NOT where the dangerous post is anyway.

Having asked Cllr O’Toole for a site visit…”You might suggest the parish councillors for Town Green, Mr Walne and Ms Woolgar, could join you in a site visit with an LCC officer?” this was ignored.

No further news until 5 July 2017, writing to Aughton Parish Council (APC) “Work began this week on the Footpath and the entire Kissing Gate has been removed and a sand/grit surface laid along the footpath. There is also a very poorly laid heap of tarmac at the Prescot Road entrance to the footpath. Today, all the machinery has gone, together with the Danger No Entry signs. But the dangerous leaning concrete post is still in situ. If this means the job is completed it seems the practical solution mentioned about has been ignored. The pavement on Prescot Road near the footpath entrance is also disgraceful too. Might you be able to assess the situation to check if there is more work to be done and if so obtain a progress report from the LCC Officer in charge of the work?”

17 July letter from LCC via the APC “Outcome of problem…Resolution; The surface of the public footpath has been improved by the Public Rights of Way Team, the kissing gate has been removed to improve low mobility access. The failing fence post will be removed in the coming days. Your report has now been closed”.

20 July 2017 From APC clerk “In respect of my enquiry to the Lancashire PROW re the above, I have received the following: i) the leaning concrete post should have been removed during the initial works and the contractor would be returning to complete this asap (I have checked this morning and the post has gone) ii) the tarmac at the junction of the public footpath and the Prescot Road footway was laid in an effort to prevent water from flowing down the footpath but this hasn’t worked as well as expected and the contractor would be returning to improve this (it appears some remedial work has been carried out) iii) the kissing gate has been removed as this made access difficult for lower mobility users. The landowners were consulted prior to the removal of the gate”. [The gate was on Footpath 25, owned by LCC!]

20 July to APC “I have just returned home through Aughton Footpath 25 and the leaning concrete post is still in situ. So I’m confused about which concrete post you, Cllr O’Toole, and the LCC have corresponded about. For the avoidance of doubt it is the post at the corner of the footpath leading directly to The Serpentine, and is directly affected by the roots of the huge tree adjacent to it. I attach a picture taken 10 minutes ago”.

20 July from APC now clearly in blunder land! “The concrete post, which was leaning considerably more than the one you are referring to, was on the first stretch of path between Prescot Road and the junction where the contractors have tried to deal with the surface/flooding/kissing gate etc. I will take a look at the other stretch asap”.

20 July to APC “The post I am referring to remains of great concern to parents walking children to and from school after they park in The Serpentine. It is at risk because of the tree roots moving it, to the extent it has already done so. It is not loose but the scale of its angle suggests it will continue its movement especially when the surrounding area is wet. I would be grateful for another assessment of it by LCC. As a parish we should apply a risk assessment to it for the safety of our children”.

21 July 2017 from APC “I have revisited the site and once again, I have put an enquiry to the LCC Department responsible and will update you in due course. I wonder if it has been a landowner’s old gatepost.Thank you for the photo which I have passed on to my contact”.

21 July 2017 to APC “I can assure you that according to locals the long fence across the end of The Serpentine was erected by our local council so as to stop cars and other vehicles driving across and into Walley Drive. They attend to it when it needs repair. And when the grass is mown on the Walley Drive greens the council also mows the land up to the Serpentine fence. So historically that is public land but maps might help with that? I doubt there has ever been a gate there, certainly not in my 35 years living here. When it was straight, that concrete post held the fence securely in place but you will have seen how much of the fence has been damaged. The tree is huge, as you will have observed, with massive root growth and it is that which has forced the concrete post over at such a dangerous angle. Perhaps a site visit with parish, council officers, and locals is necessary?” NB Second request for a site visit!

27 July 2017 from APC “In respect of my enquiry to the Lancashire PROW regarding the above, I have been informed that the contractor will be going back on site to remove this second post you referred to, on the right-hand side of the photo. Also, the tarmac hump at the Prescot Road end of the path will be removed and replaced with something more suitable”. [NB I have only ever referred to ONE concrete post, the one on Footpath 25. If a post WAS removed it was NOT on Footpath 25]

End of dialogue. No further contact. No news of any council officer or elected member making an official visit to see the danger. Children are back at school and the risk of harm remains serious, as these latest pictures today  show . Almost two months after the “report has now been closed” and there is NO resolution. But painting parking lines on Granville Park and then removing them is LCC priority!


Responses

  1. What a shame Cllr Paul Greenall isn’t your local Councillor. What use has Cllr Tool been? A chocolate fireguard springs to mind, for some reason. I wonder how many ‘Conservation Grants’ on Granville Park could have been granted in the same time scale?

    • The precise location of the leaning post was stated in my very first message to them. They clearly didn’t want to know that!

  2. It’s like a comedy of errors….

    • It is, with a possibility of a dangerous and serious error being the outcome.


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