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Bradford ramblers raise concerns over footpaths
7:00am Monday 2nd December 2013 in News
Bradford Council has avoided being on a national Ramblers’ list of concern, but it has still come under fire from walkers about the state of its footpaths.
The Ramblers’ ‘Paths in Crisis’ report has revealed there are more than 100,000 problems on England’s paths which are stopping people in their tracks.
Among the issues faced by walkers are impenetrable overgrowth, dangerous barbed wire, flooded paths and missing signposts, stiles and bridges.
But although Bradford was not listed, the Council has come under criticism from a walking group.
Chris Moore, footpath secretary of the Ramblers Association, Bradford group, said: “The Council has cut back significantly on rights of way staff as part of their overall need to economise in recent years. However, recognising the health and well-being benefits of walking which are being encouraged nationally, we would hate to see part of our heritage fall into disrepair.
“Just because Bradford does not appear in the league tables contained in the ‘Paths in Crisis’ report, we hope that the Council does not ignore its findings.
“In the city of Bradford and its surrounding countryside we find the Council's rights of way staff responsive to requests for action to maintain paths and furniture within their depleted resources, particularly where new obstructions and potentially hazardous situations are reported to them.
“Unfortunately the Council increasingly does not have a budget to deal with a backlog of physical and legal problems, among which are many missing signs, deteriorating surfaces and an enormous backlog of more than 2,400 recorded paths in the old county borough and legal events which remain to be added to or modify the Definitive Maps.”
He added: “There does not seem to be a coherent plan to deal with the Definitive Map backlog (or to provide a comprehensive accessible List of Streets) in the next 13 years to 2026 when further additions to the map will no longer be possible.
“Less than five per cent progress has been made in the last ten or so years. We hope that the De-regulation Bill currently in progress will help to resolve procedure, but we fear strong central direction will be required to provide the resources to apply it.”
In Yorkshire and the Humber, Barnsley, Kirklees, and Calderdale Councils feature on the Ramblers’ national ‘Councils of Concern’ list for the scale of their funding cuts and number of path problems.
Benedict Southworth, Ramblers chief executive, said: “Blocked and overgrown paths put people off from getting outside at a time when we need to be making it easier, not harder, for everyone to get more active.
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