We all know how much more council tax we pay for poorer council services. The Lancashire Evening Post reports that Lancashire County Council has rejected a claim that it can take up to three years to replace missing signs identifying public footpaths. Independent County Councillor Paul Greenall told a meeting of the full council that the absence of a Rights of Way Officer in some parts of the county meant the problem of damaged fingerpost signs was going unresolved.
But deputy leader of the Conservative-run authority Albert Atkinson insisted that inspection and maintenance was being carried out at least every year. “Signs are replaced on a district-by-district basis, not as [each] one falls down” County Cllr Atkinson said “We repair footpaths during the summer when we can get onto them and the [repair of] signs is worked into that. It saves time and money and we’re saving a lot more than by doing it your way end of story”.
Speaking after the meeting, County Cllr Greenall, who represents West Lancashire (East), said he felt that the rate of repair work was not going in the right direction.“I was advised that it would take 2 to 3 years to fix a sign back onto a post ” he said. “People go out walking in the area I represent, [they] pay their council tax and part of that should be maintaining some basic services. A sign pointing in the direction of a public footpath is probably about as basic as it gets”.
There are around 18,000 public rights of way in Lancashire and concern about the condition of the paths themselves was raised by the Ramblers’ Association late last year. Questioned about whether the issue of signage had an impact on the majority of people in the county, County Cllr Greenall who defected from the ruling Conservative group 12 months ago said “You do see people walking around here with their rucksacks on. In my area, signs are falling off their posts they are so rusty. I don’t expect the council to drop everything and have it done first thing in the morning. I just think 2 to 3 years is a little bit excessive”.
To be blunt about it, LCC will be bankrupt within a couple of years and footpath signs will be the least of our worries! It might occur to LCC that all those special allowances paid to the elected members would pay for repairs to signs…no, I’m asking too much of them!