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John Fawcett, our local correspondent for Kirklees, has persuaded Kirklees Council to reopen a blocked footpath, Mirfield no 21. This is a popular, well-used path between Greenside Road and Wellhouse Lane in Mirfield, north-east of Huddersfield.
The path was obstructed by an overhanging fence which made it difficult and dangerous to use. John had pressed the council, which has a legal duty to keep paths clear of obstruction, to act but it had failed to do so, replying: ‘if the fence is “almost overhanging” the footpath we will not be visiting the site as there is no reason to. I’m afraid we do not have the resources to visit every problem reported especially if it is a minor issue’.
Determined to get the path attended to, John served a notice on the council under section 130A of the Highways Act, formally requesting it to reopen the path or face court action. Unusually, the council replied immediately, saying that the path was unobstructed. John checked the route and found the fence had been broken off and the path was now passable.
Says John: ‘It’s a shame that it took formal action on behalf of the Open Spaces Society to get this path inspected and reopened. The council’s claim that it was a minor issue is highly questionable—who decides what constitutes a “minor issue”?
‘I am pleased that the path is now open and safe to use.’