secretary@essexlibdems.org.uk
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Essex CC should review policy on footpaths due to serious injuries

December 20, 2018 3:27 PM

Public Footpath sign

Key footpaths around Essex are becoming a trip hazard, causing serious injury from falls, and the County Council needs to fix them. In many estates of new houses, what were rural footpaths are now estate pavements, but they have not been reclassified, so they are not being maintained properly.

This issue was raised by Lib Dem Councillor Anne Turrell (Mile End and Highwoods), who represents one of the fastest-growing parts of Essex in north Colchester.

Cllr Turrell asked the Cabinet Member for Highways to upgrade these paths to the same standard as Highways footpaths.

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Infrastructure

'I thank the member for Mile End and Highwoods for her question on policy for Public Footpaths.

It is important to note that Public Rights of Way are usually rural in nature and the great majority of them are not surfaced. Although they should be level and firm it is expected and accepted that the nature of Public Rights of Way is that they are often not uniform, and it would not be possible to have a perfectly flat surface wherever there is an undulating surface.

Where Public Rights of Way are being subsumed into new urban development, depending on the setting of the path in the development layout, it is usual to get the developer to make up the path to an adoptable standard through planning agreements. The path may then be subsequently removed from the Definitive Map and maintained as part of the adopted highway network. Other Footpaths in already established urban areas may have historically been maintained by District Councils, not by the highway authority.

I agree that we need to look at this issue and so I have asked for a guidance note to be written. However, it is important to highlight it will be difficult for bridleways as, by removing the status and conversion to cycleways, horse-riders will be unable to use them. If you have any further thoughts on this particular issue, then please let me know.'