Overgrown Westbury Leigh footpaths blamed on council redundancies
9:24am Saturday 23rd August 2014 in By Katie Smith
A retired couple who have been walking the same footpaths around their Westbury Leigh home for 29 years are frustrated at not being able to use them because they are overgrown.
Adrian and Edith Bass have always enjoyed walking in the countryside around their house with their two border terriers and have never had a problem walking on the footpaths before.
But for the last two months, three footpaths – one on Sandhole Lane, one near the stream behind White Horse Health Centre and one from Old Dilton towards Upton Scudamore – have been left overgrown, despite the couple’s repeated requests to Wiltshire Council to have them cut.
Mr Bass, 67, said: “When they have been overgrown in the past, we have contacted the council and it has been done in a couple of weeks.
“We are going on for two months. That is unreasonable. We can’t use them and have to take a different route. You wouldn’t know a footpath was there it is so overgrown.”
He first emailed the council about the paths on July 7, but to no avail, so he sent a reminder email to Highways chief Cllr John Thomson and leader of the council Cllr Jane Scott, and received a call from Paul Millard, rights of way officer at Wiltshire Council.
“He said due to redundancies they have only got one man covering vegetation from Limpley Stoke through to Longbridge Deverill,” said Mr Bass.
“That is not my problem. He said they would try and get it done by the end of the month, but I had no concrete answer.
“They (Wiltshire Council) have awarded themselves all this extra money and we as the public suffer. The Highways Act 1980 says footpaths should give as much right of way as other roads.”
A Wiltshire Council spokesperson said: "We apologise for any inconvenience this is causing, and we are working to ensure all of the footpaths in the county are easily passable.
“Unfortunately, the stormy weather of the past winter left a large amount of damage, and the warm, damp conditions since then have resulted in the vegetation growing faster than normal.”
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