Residents claims town's paths are dangerous

Roger Keable, who has MS, on the path outside his house in Burwell, Witney. He is struggling to use the path, which is overgrown and has not been cleared despite him asking the council to help. Picture: OX54705 Ric Mellis

Roger Keable, who has MS, on the path outside his house in Burwell, Witney. He is struggling to use the path, which is overgrown and has not been cleared despite him asking the council to help. Picture: OX54705 Ric Mellis Buy this photo

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by

DISABLED people have criticised the state of paving in Witney and have claimed it is trapping them at home.

Paving and footpaths across the town have been flagged up for repair by residents, including High Street, Market Square and Corn Street in the centre.

Oxfordshire County Council has said it will resurface Corn Street from November 5 and is producing designs and costings for Market Square.

Roger Keable, 65, who has multiple sclerosis, said the footpaths around his home were in a bad state, which added to his mobility issues.

He said: “Walking is very difficult for me and I have to use sticks or crutches.

“The footpath connecting the cul-de-sac where I live to Burwell Drive, where the bus stops are, is so badly overgrown and broken up that it makes it very difficult to walk on it.

“I thought about going out myself with shears but I can do very little work before my legs go.”

The grandfather-of-one said he found it diffiult to ride his mobility scooter in the town centre.

He added: “I ride my scooter on the road now. I know I am not supposed to do that but it is much more comfortable.”

Liz Ince, of Yelford, has complained to the county council about several loose and uneven paving along High Street and Corn Street.

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Meanwhile, Dennis West, 54, of Weavers Close, has contacted the council about overgrown and damaged roadside along Burford Road by Minster Lovell.

His son, Richard, 23, who is visually impaired, has decided to give up cycling to work along the stretch after he fell from his bike two weeks ago.

Mr West said: “It is dangerous. You take your life in your hands along there.”

Rodney Rose, county council cabinet member for transport, said £50,000 of repair works to Corn Street’s footpath would start in November.

He said: “The county council has been in discussions with local councillors and the district council regarding the possibility of a wider scheme to improve Witney Market Square.

“To take this forward it would be necessary to have designs produced so that accurate costings could be produced and district planning and conservation considerations can be addressed. “Councillors are currently considering how this scheme may be taken forward.”

Repairs to Market Square are expected to cost about £30,000 and could start next year.

Mr Rose added: “We have carried out inspections on Burwell Drive but have not found any safety defects that require repair.

“The route between Minster Lovell and Worsham Mill is not a cycle lane and is passable for pedestrians.”

County Hall has spent about £15,000 this year on railings in Church Green and warning signs in Oxford Hill.

Comments (1)

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2:36pm Wed 3 Oct 12

Myron Blatz says...

They should try some of the pedestrian pathways in Littlemore, Rose Hill and Blackbird Leys - if they aren't near main roads where problems are more obvious, they often get ignored - with (often) City and County Councils saying it's the other's job to maintain, cut-back overgrowth and keep the paths otherwise tidy - for those on foot, cycle, disabled wheelchairs and scooters, and Parents with small children and buggies. Often, it can be a City Council Ward or County Council Division 'lottery' as to whether your Councillors have the 'clout' or motivation to get things done - unless close to Election time, when they seem to promise the 'earth' ...... but rarely to actually move it, or get anything done! Putting the onus on local voluntary, unpaid ' community involvement (rarely with insurance cover or meeting H&S requirements) is just a cheap cop-out. As for that 'red herring' about Coalition and County Council cut-backs in funding which Labour City and County Councillors like to whitewash with, similar excuses were often made when Labour was in government for 13 years - so who can we believe?
They should try some of the pedestrian pathways in Littlemore, Rose Hill and Blackbird Leys - if they aren't near main roads where problems are more obvious, they often get ignored - with (often) City and County Councils saying it's the other's job to maintain, cut-back overgrowth and keep the paths otherwise tidy - for those on foot, cycle, disabled wheelchairs and scooters, and Parents with small children and buggies. Often, it can be a City Council Ward or County Council Division 'lottery' as to whether your Councillors have the 'clout' or motivation to get things done - unless close to Election time, when they seem to promise the 'earth' ...... but rarely to actually move it, or get anything done! Putting the onus on local voluntary, unpaid ' community involvement (rarely with insurance cover or meeting H&S requirements) is just a cheap cop-out. As for that 'red herring' about Coalition and County Council cut-backs in funding which Labour City and County Councillors like to whitewash with, similar excuses were often made when Labour was in government for 13 years - so who can we believe? Myron Blatz
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