Resounding no to asphalt on Devizes Quakers Walk
Councillors have given a resounding ‘no’ to proposals to resurface Quakers Walk footpath.
Wiltshire councillor Philip Whitehead, portfolio holder for highways, was concerned the path’s gravel surface was prone to becoming flooded and muddy in heavy rain and asked Devizes town and Roundway parish councils for views on resurfacing with asphalt.
In his letter, he said council engineers were investigating what could be done to alleviate the flooding situation and their proposals would depend on local feedback.
The issue was proposed two years ago by Wiltshire Council but was opposed by local councillors and the Quakers Walk Protection Group.
It was mooted when plans for a care village near the allotments at Quakers Walk were discussed. Highway officers at Wiltshire Council considered the gravel surface unsuitable for wheelchairs and electric buggies.
At meetings last week, both Roundway and Devizes councils reaffirmed their opposition to asphalt.
Councillor Andy Geddes, a Roundway parish and Devizes town councillor, said: “The issue is primarily one of drainage and that should be explored first before any issue of surfacing is considered.
“Quakers Walk is one of the icons of the town and, although it has been eroded somewhat by development, it still has the aspect of bringing the countryside into the town. Asphalt would be creeping urbanisation.”
Philippa Morgan, co-ordinator of the Quakers Walk Protection Group, said: “None of our group is in favour of Tarmac and we fear that, if that did happen, lighting would follow. It would be completely the wrong decision.
“The gravel surface is the same as that on the canal towpath and no one talks about putting asphalt on the towpath.”