Anger over 3,000 'rights of way' repair backlog in county

Councillor Richard Udall, from the Labour group

Councillor Richard Udall, from the Labour group

First published in News
Last updated
Worcester News: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

MORE than 3,000 'rights of way' routes across Worcestershire have defects - leading to furious claims council chiefs are providing a "Cinderella service".

Your Worcester News can reveal how a backlog of 3,132 complaints over problems with public routes are still outstanding including problems like obstructions or uneven, damaged surfacing.

Critics say Worcestershire County Council has slashed its budget for public rights of way 27 per cent since 2010, leaving it at £192,000.

Rights of way routes cover some of the most picturesque parts of Worcestershire, and are especially popular with dog walkers and runners.

Councillor Richard Udall, Labour's rural affairs spokesman at County Hall, says the authority needs to "get a grip" on it.

He said: "People come from across the country and the world to enjoy the beautiful Worcestershire countryside - the public have a right to walk without hindrance across our network of public footpaths and bridleways.

"The council has got rid of inspectors and have reduced them to a Cinderella service, unable to respond to the complaints received.

"A huge backlog of 3,132 complaints about outstanding defects exists and this cannot continue.

"We simply cannot afford to let county land owners to block off, obstruct and close public footpaths.

"The rights to enjoy public footpaths were won by working people using mass trespass to gain the freedom to walk in our countryside.

"If we are not careful those rights will be undermined by deliberate neglect by our council."

He has now sent a letter to Councillor Lucy Hodgson, who sits in the Conservative cabinet and is responsible for it, asking her to "get a grip".

Cllr Hodgson, cabinet member for localism and communities, said: "We continue to complete work to increase access, not least with the installation of 300 new gates and 25 bridges over the last year, alongside lots of work clearing vegetation and fixing signs.

"We work closely with a wide range of volunteers who complete a large amount of high quality work, including paths wardens and others to keep rights of way open and accessible for residents and visitors alike."

The council says some of the budget reductions have not affected the front line, like removing one storage depot which saved £26,000.

It also says the number of defects was 10,000 several years ago, although some of that is down to a review of how they are recorded.

A spokesman said the "vast majority" of the 3,132 outstanding are minor ones being dealt with on a priority basis.

Comments (11)

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5:06pm Mon 4 Aug 14

Hwicce says...

You only have to look at the CC map to realise what a mess this is.

There are several paths with houses built across them but the CC does nothing about it.

Complete waste of space.
You only have to look at the CC map to realise what a mess this is. There are several paths with houses built across them but the CC does nothing about it. Complete waste of space. Hwicce
  • Score: 2

5:25pm Mon 4 Aug 14

liketoknow says...

flytipping on the the 3 choirs way above Oldbury road, and the path to Elgar's birthplace blocked by 4 feet high stinging nettles.
flytipping on the the 3 choirs way above Oldbury road, and the path to Elgar's birthplace blocked by 4 feet high stinging nettles. liketoknow
  • Score: 0

5:32pm Mon 4 Aug 14

liketoknow says...

does anyone know the complaints procedure? I'm going round in circles . the website doesn't seem to respond.
does anyone know the complaints procedure? I'm going round in circles . the website doesn't seem to respond. liketoknow
  • Score: 2

5:44pm Mon 4 Aug 14

i-cycle says...

liketoknow wrote:
does anyone know the complaints procedure? I'm going round in circles . the website doesn't seem to respond.
They've recently launched a new 'easier to use' weblink for reporting "Highway" issues. As footpaths and bridleways are part of the Highway network it should work for them too. Unless of course WCC are now only interested in fixing potholed roads.

The link is here> http://www.worcester
shire.gov.uk/cms/rep
ort--a-highway-probl
em.aspx

There is certainly a rights of way 'button'. Is this what you've tried?

If it is then perhaps we need to complain to WCC about the need for a new complaints procedure so we can complain when their complaints procedure fails to work.
[quote][p][bold]liketoknow[/bold] wrote: does anyone know the complaints procedure? I'm going round in circles . the website doesn't seem to respond.[/p][/quote]They've recently launched a new 'easier to use' weblink for reporting "Highway" issues. As footpaths and bridleways are part of the Highway network it should work for them too. Unless of course WCC are now only interested in fixing potholed roads. The link is here> http://www.worcester shire.gov.uk/cms/rep ort--a-highway-probl em.aspx There is certainly a rights of way 'button'. Is this what you've tried? If it is then perhaps we need to complain to WCC about the need for a new complaints procedure so we can complain when their complaints procedure fails to work. i-cycle
  • Score: 0

6:11pm Mon 4 Aug 14

liketoknow says...

i-cycle wrote:
liketoknow wrote:
does anyone know the complaints procedure? I'm going round in circles . the website doesn't seem to respond.
They've recently launched a new 'easier to use' weblink for reporting "Highway" issues. As footpaths and bridleways are part of the Highway network it should work for them too. Unless of course WCC are now only interested in fixing potholed roads.

The link is here> http://www.worcester

shire.gov.uk/cms/rep

ort--a-highway-probl

em.aspx

There is certainly a rights of way 'button'. Is this what you've tried?

If it is then perhaps we need to complain to WCC about the need for a new complaints procedure so we can complain when their complaints procedure fails to work.
thankyou. I'll try it
[quote][p][bold]i-cycle[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]liketoknow[/bold] wrote: does anyone know the complaints procedure? I'm going round in circles . the website doesn't seem to respond.[/p][/quote]They've recently launched a new 'easier to use' weblink for reporting "Highway" issues. As footpaths and bridleways are part of the Highway network it should work for them too. Unless of course WCC are now only interested in fixing potholed roads. The link is here> http://www.worcester shire.gov.uk/cms/rep ort--a-highway-probl em.aspx There is certainly a rights of way 'button'. Is this what you've tried? If it is then perhaps we need to complain to WCC about the need for a new complaints procedure so we can complain when their complaints procedure fails to work.[/p][/quote]thankyou. I'll try it liketoknow
  • Score: 0

10:55am Tue 5 Aug 14

localman69 says...

Someone needs to explain to dog-walkers that they are Footpaths..not Pawpaths. So if a dog owner is unable to lift their dog over a stile or the dog cannot jump over then they need to choose another walk. Someone also needs to explain to dog-walkers that the countryside is a working environment and not a theme park for their dog to run around off the lead. And please dog-walkers, pick up your dog muck.
Someone needs to explain to dog-walkers that they are Footpaths..not Pawpaths. So if a dog owner is unable to lift their dog over a stile or the dog cannot jump over then they need to choose another walk. Someone also needs to explain to dog-walkers that the countryside is a working environment and not a theme park for their dog to run around off the lead. And please dog-walkers, pick up your dog muck. localman69
  • Score: 1

11:22am Tue 5 Aug 14

liketoknow says...

localman69 wrote:
Someone needs to explain to dog-walkers that they are Footpaths..not Pawpaths. So if a dog owner is unable to lift their dog over a stile or the dog cannot jump over then they need to choose another walk. Someone also needs to explain to dog-walkers that the countryside is a working environment and not a theme park for their dog to run around off the lead. And please dog-walkers, pick up your dog muck.
not guilty , I've been accused of talking a pile of it; but I'm not responsible. I don't have a dog.
[quote][p][bold]localman69[/bold] wrote: Someone needs to explain to dog-walkers that they are Footpaths..not Pawpaths. So if a dog owner is unable to lift their dog over a stile or the dog cannot jump over then they need to choose another walk. Someone also needs to explain to dog-walkers that the countryside is a working environment and not a theme park for their dog to run around off the lead. And please dog-walkers, pick up your dog muck.[/p][/quote]not guilty , I've been accused of talking a pile of it; but I'm not responsible. I don't have a dog. liketoknow
  • Score: 1

4:44pm Tue 5 Aug 14

Rita Jelfs says...

Now we know why Worcestershire has the 9th lowest council taxes. Because they're not maintaining the rights of way.
Now we know why Worcestershire has the 9th lowest council taxes. Because they're not maintaining the rights of way. Rita Jelfs
  • Score: 2

7:45pm Tue 5 Aug 14

BadgerMash says...

Here's an idea for financing the footpath repairs:
A lot of the surface damage in our area seems to be due to tyre tracks. The maximum fine for cycling on footpaths is £5,000 (and, as it isn't a "traffic offence", the offender gets a criminal record). Doubling the public money available to carry out the work would only take 40 prosecutions.
Here's an idea for financing the footpath repairs: A lot of the surface damage in our area seems to be due to tyre tracks. The maximum fine for cycling on footpaths is £5,000 (and, as it isn't a "traffic offence", the offender gets a criminal record). Doubling the public money available to carry out the work would only take 40 prosecutions. BadgerMash
  • Score: 1

9:44pm Tue 5 Aug 14

i-cycle says...

BadgerMash wrote:
Here's an idea for financing the footpath repairs:
A lot of the surface damage in our area seems to be due to tyre tracks. The maximum fine for cycling on footpaths is £5,000 (and, as it isn't a "traffic offence", the offender gets a criminal record). Doubling the public money available to carry out the work would only take 40 prosecutions.
Cyclists have no right to cycle on footpaths away from the road but only commit an offence where local by-laws or traffic regulation orders create such an offence. Cyclists can ride on bridleways, but not on countryside footpaths. To do so is a civil tort, ie not a criminal matter, the landowner has to sue the transgressor for damages (of which there’s likely to be none).
[quote][p][bold]BadgerMash[/bold] wrote: Here's an idea for financing the footpath repairs: A lot of the surface damage in our area seems to be due to tyre tracks. The maximum fine for cycling on footpaths is £5,000 (and, as it isn't a "traffic offence", the offender gets a criminal record). Doubling the public money available to carry out the work would only take 40 prosecutions.[/p][/quote]Cyclists have no right to cycle on footpaths away from the road but only commit an offence where local by-laws or traffic regulation orders create such an offence. Cyclists can ride on bridleways, but not on countryside footpaths. To do so is a civil tort, ie not a criminal matter, the landowner has to sue the transgressor for damages (of which there’s likely to be none). i-cycle
  • Score: 0

11:35am Wed 6 Aug 14

Andy-Apache says...

Badger hates cyclists - evident by frequent rants about them trying to kill him all the time.

I've ridden on footpaths - God forgive me! Many many footpaths in this area evidently haven't been used for foot traffic for very long periods of time, and if this is proven, land owners can apply to have them closed. So instead of moaning about cyclists using paths where a foot hasn't passed for many moons, maybe you should praise them for proving continuing use.

PS - in the rare occasion I've come across walkers, I have hopped off the bike until we've passed. Never an ill word is spoken. Most people utilise common sense.
Badger hates cyclists - evident by frequent rants about them trying to kill him all the time. I've ridden on footpaths - God forgive me! Many many footpaths in this area evidently haven't been used for foot traffic for very long periods of time, and if this is proven, land owners can apply to have them closed. So instead of moaning about cyclists using paths where a foot hasn't passed for many moons, maybe you should praise them for proving continuing use. PS - in the rare occasion I've come across walkers, I have hopped off the bike until we've passed. Never an ill word is spoken. Most people utilise common sense. Andy-Apache
  • Score: 0

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