Overgrown Westbury Leigh footpaths blamed on council redundancies

This Is Wiltshire: Adrian Bass at one of the  overgrown footpaths with his border terriers Oscar and Tasha Adrian Bass at one of the overgrown footpaths with his border terriers Oscar and Tasha

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.”

Comments (9)

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10:17am Sat 23 Aug 14

brandx says...

This is happening - or rather not happening - with all manner of statutory responsibilities that Wiltshire Council has. Whether it is planning and parking enforcement or maintaining neglected areas. Jobs are just not being done or taking far too long to get done.

This is result of local government getting a lot less money from central government and then having to make a series of redundancies. Those staff left invariably have to take on more work. The consequence is certain things just don't get done. This is happening - or rather the tasks are not happening - every day. Slowly but steadily the work is grinding to a halt. It is likely to get worse.
This is happening - or rather not happening - with all manner of statutory responsibilities that Wiltshire Council has. Whether it is planning and parking enforcement or maintaining neglected areas. Jobs are just not being done or taking far too long to get done. This is result of local government getting a lot less money from central government and then having to make a series of redundancies. Those staff left invariably have to take on more work. The consequence is certain things just don't get done. This is happening - or rather the tasks are not happening - every day. Slowly but steadily the work is grinding to a halt. It is likely to get worse. brandx
  • Score: 11

11:05am Sat 23 Aug 14

trowbridge 1960 says...

Parking enforcement isn't declining, nor is camera vans hiding behind hedges. Don't forget money is involved and when its easy to obtain we are on the ball !
Parking enforcement isn't declining, nor is camera vans hiding behind hedges. Don't forget money is involved and when its easy to obtain we are on the ball ! trowbridge 1960
  • Score: -4

11:48am Sat 23 Aug 14

Grumpyoldgit99 says...

Surely this is just these footpaths are not being used. Frequent use by the public would ensure that the footpaths are open and free of undergrowth. Anyway, if I go out for a walk in the country I go armed with a stick for such an eventuality.
Surely this is just these footpaths are not being used. Frequent use by the public would ensure that the footpaths are open and free of undergrowth. Anyway, if I go out for a walk in the country I go armed with a stick for such an eventuality. Grumpyoldgit99
  • Score: 4

12:19pm Sat 23 Aug 14

brasstacks says...

Well done Adrian for your Article and....you are absolutely right about the footpaths !.

Walkers cannot use Public Footpaths if they are overgrown and the point Adrian has made is valid because these should be cut regularly so that they are accessible for everyone.

Not everyone has a car and if you walk to work, school or just for leisure, everyone should be able to access all footpaths easily and ...safely....

If the Cons-Cab had not spent so much tax payers dosh on their image and then on poor choices of Contractors, Westbury and Wiltshire in general would be the County that we all remember.

Cutting the front lawn at County Hall for HRH Camilla comes to mind !?

It is no good even trying to get local Ward Councillors to help as all they do (if you are lucky...) is to flag it all up to 'Cons House" at By the Sea Road who ignore it...

People and Sall services including footpaths before Politics please !?
Well done Adrian for your Article and....you are absolutely right about the footpaths !. Walkers cannot use Public Footpaths if they are overgrown and the point Adrian has made is valid because these should be cut regularly so that they are accessible for everyone. Not everyone has a car and if you walk to work, school or just for leisure, everyone should be able to access all footpaths easily and ...safely.... If the Cons-Cab had not spent so much tax payers dosh on their image and then on poor choices of Contractors, Westbury and Wiltshire in general would be the County that we all remember. Cutting the front lawn at County Hall for HRH Camilla comes to mind !? It is no good even trying to get local Ward Councillors to help as all they do (if you are lucky...) is to flag it all up to 'Cons House" at By the Sea Road who ignore it... People and Sall services including footpaths before Politics please !? brasstacks
  • Score: 9

12:36pm Sat 23 Aug 14

fishgti says...

This just proves the footpaths are not being used by enough people. Wiltshire council should spend more money to allow one person to walk fred the dog and then pay someone to clear up the dog mess left by one person. Footpaths were orginally designed for walkers to admire the countryside but now they are just used for fred the dog to take a dump. Next thing they will be asking for them to be tarmaced so they dont get wet feet on the wet grass.
This just proves the footpaths are not being used by enough people. Wiltshire council should spend more money to allow one person to walk fred the dog and then pay someone to clear up the dog mess left by one person. Footpaths were orginally designed for walkers to admire the countryside but now they are just used for fred the dog to take a dump. Next thing they will be asking for them to be tarmaced so they dont get wet feet on the wet grass. fishgti
  • Score: -3

12:49pm Sat 23 Aug 14

Mrs Donnyfly says...

Mr and Mrs Bass could always arm themselves with a machete each and embrace the old explorer/pioneer spirit.
Mr and Mrs Bass could always arm themselves with a machete each and embrace the old explorer/pioneer spirit. Mrs Donnyfly
  • Score: 1

1:29pm Sat 23 Aug 14

Mr Scrooge McDuck says...

How have the council awarded themselves "all this extra money"?
How have the council awarded themselves "all this extra money"? Mr Scrooge McDuck
  • Score: 4

1:34pm Sat 23 Aug 14

Grumpyoldgit99 says...

Mrs Donnyfly wrote:
Mr and Mrs Bass could always arm themselves with a machete each and embrace the old explorer/pioneer spirit.
Exactly. Any walk more than a few yards from the road is likely to require a stout stick.
[quote][p][bold]Mrs Donnyfly[/bold] wrote: Mr and Mrs Bass could always arm themselves with a machete each and embrace the old explorer/pioneer spirit.[/p][/quote]Exactly. Any walk more than a few yards from the road is likely to require a stout stick. Grumpyoldgit99
  • Score: 4

8:21am Wed 27 Aug 14

anonomous100 says...

I'd like to know what extra money this is? It certainly hasn't come the staffing way!! If anything the Council is getting less and less money from central government! Unfortunately it's difficult to pluck resources out of thin air!
I'd like to know what extra money this is? It certainly hasn't come the staffing way!! If anything the Council is getting less and less money from central government! Unfortunately it's difficult to pluck resources out of thin air! anonomous100
  • Score: 2

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