Monday, 4 August 2008

A blocked Public Footpath in Chingford

The Council’s Green Charter states:

We will review, maintain, and upgrade as appropriate the borough's own statutory network of footpaths; and will encourage recreational walking within and around the borough by promotion and information on local walks.
(Green Charter, p.12)

It’s complete garbage. The council does none of these things. It was obliged by new legislation to provide a definitive statement of its rights of way network and failed to meet the legal deadline. It most definitely does not maintain or upgrade its statutory network of footpaths. It doesn't promote local walks in any meaningful sense and you can't get a map of public footpaths from the council because it has never bothered to publish one. This is a council which churns out Green propaganda by the lorryload but which continues to speak with a forked tongue by purporting to be Green while putting cars, motoring, car dependency and property development first. This council even flouts its statutory obligations to walking:

The Council has a duty to assert and protect the rights of the public to the use and enjoyment of any highway (including Public Rights of way). This means we are obliged to keep rights of way open and useable.

This public footpath on Chingford Avenue E4 (below) provides a short cut to Heathcote Grove and the pathway that leads beside the cemetery to Grove Road. Or it would do if the council hadn’t allowed it to become an inaccessible wilderness of weeds. The council is once again failing in its statutory obligation to keep public footpaths open and is breaking the law.

Councillor Bob Belam is asking residents for ideas on how best to combat climate change. Well, Bob, how about walking down this Public Footpath with a pair of shears?

(Above) The inaccessible entrance to this Public Footpath on Chingford Avenue. The route of the path turns left at the railings. I didn't venture deep enough into the nettles and briars to check whether or not it has been illegally fenced off but I suspect it may be.

(Below) The public footpath sign on Chingford Avenue.

(Below) The Heathcote Grove entrance to this same public footpath.

When it comes to neglect of public footpaths, colluding in their unlawful obstruction and enthusiasm for shutting them down the London Borough of Waltham Forest has a long record (scroll down all the posts here).