‘Damned if we walk, damned if we drive’
Lack of maintenance has been branded a ‘complete disgrace’ by a dad who fears for his children’s safety and calls for action over an ‘unwalkable’ footpath and a dangerous road in Wing.
Andy Pye, 39, of Mill Cottages, says that the condition of the footpath between Mill Cottages and Church Street alongside the A418 Aylesbury Road is rapidly deteriorating, causing concern over the welfare of his children walking to school.
Mr Pye said: “I’m afraid the lack of maintenance is a complete disgrace. Eventually we’d love for our two children to be able to walk to school by themselves but it’s hard to imagine at the moment. There are six children in Mill Cottages and the half-mile path into the village and down to the Old Mill and the local footpaths is a route used by the cottage residents and villagers, but unfortunately the lack of maintenance has rendered it unwalkable in places.
“We’ve been pushing on this issue with our local councillor since May but there’s still no meaningful progress. If something isn’t done soon it will become completely overgrown and the only way into the village will be by car.”
After first getting in touch with Councillor Netta Glover of Buckinghamshire County Council five months ago, Mr Pye has been determined to get something done about the state of footpaths, so it was music to his ears yesterday when it was confirmed that the maintenance works should start on the path next week.
He said: “Fingers crossed we’ll be able to walk up the hill in the near future. Just a narrow path through the village and a dangerous road to deal with now.”
Mr Pye has also voiced his views on the A418 that connects Aylesbury and Leighton, which has a speed limit of 60mph, after his family experienced a near miss last month.
A coach travelling down Aylesbury Road failed to realise that the family car was stationary and signalling right into Mill Cottages on the 60mph road – an incident which has pushed Andy to consider attaching CCTV to his car in order to prove how dangerous he believes the road actually is.
He added: “Unfortunately not only do we have to contend with the footpaths, but pulling into and out of Mill Cottages in a car also continues to be a game of Russian roulette. It seems as if we’re damned if we walk and damned if we drive! Marooned at Mill Cottages. We need to see some action before someone gets seriously hurt or worse.”
Councillor Glover says that the speed of the road is very close to her heart as she has been working on making the area safer since 2009 and even persuaded the council to extend the red lining on Aylesbury Road.
She said: “What worries me about enforcing a 40mph speed limit is that people will overtake. I don’t want to be responsible for someone being killed by enforcing the speed limit and making people overtake. It is not about the speed limit, it is about irresponsible driving, so I just don’t know what we are going to do.”
Buckinghamshire Casualty Reduction Team added: “Mean speed along this stretch of road is 50.2mph which is already below the national limit. Even if a 50mph limit was justifiable it would be unlikely to achieve lower speeds.”
In regards to the lack of maintenance on the public footpaths, Councillor Glover puts the issue down to the economy, fewer staff and bad weather.
She said: “I just hope we get more normal weather next year. You just can’t give them all that special cut. It is such a huge job, so we might have to just grin and bear it. The county has several thousand miles of rural verges to attend to and because of the state of the economy the county has needed to cut so many jobs over the last few years that eventually services are going to take longer to carry out. There has been a delay due to rain and the grass has grown much quicker than it normally does and people have got more and more far behind.”
A spokesman for Transport for Buckinghamshire said they are aware of the situation and that work was due to begin on October 22 to cut back footway and overhanging vegetation as part of the routine maintenance programme.
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Weather for Leighton Buzzard
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 11 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 6 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: North