Improvements on the way for ‘unkempt’ Sidmouth footpath

PUBLISHED: 08:00 26 September 2020

The pathway at Arcot Park.

The pathway at Arcot Park.

Sandra Gigg

An ‘unkempt’ pathway in Sidmouth has prompted complaints from local residents and claims that the district council is using ‘re-wilding’ as an excuse for poor maintenance.

The pathway at Arcot Park.The pathway at Arcot Park.

The condition of the path running along the length of Arcot Park has been described as ‘absolutely appalling’ by one local woman, who said it is overgrown and has a dangerously uneven surface.

East Devon District Council said routine maintenance work is scheduled to take place soon, and work on the damaged surface will be ‘a priority’.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said: “Some time ago I was walking along the path and tripped, and fell due to the uneven tarmac. I cut my knees, hands and elbows.

“Last night I nearly had a repeat performance as the path is 10 times worse than when I fell some time ago.

The pathway at Arcot Park.The pathway at Arcot Park.

“The bank is never cut I suspect due to environmental reasons …. consequently, the path is getting more and more narrow as the greenery encroaches onto the path, just when we are needing more space to pass people.

“Sidmouth used to be such a cared for smart town – sadly, it really isn’t any more.

“The pavements are choked with weeds which push up the paving stones etc, the town looks sad and unkempt.

“Surely in the end it costs far more to rectify all this bad management than it does to up keep it to a good standard.”

The surface of the pathway at Arcot Park.The surface of the pathway at Arcot Park.

Sidmouth councillor Stuart Hughes said: “I’ve had three complaints like this, and it’s the so-called wilding policy of the district council that’s causing the problems, with the roots of tree type saplings breaking up the tarmac pathway.

“I’ve said the same for the last two years about the unkempt look as you drive towards Sidmouth on the A375 Sidford Road.”

In response to the complaints, East Devon District Council said it was aware of the problems and it is planning to tackle them.

A spokesman said: “Work is due to be carried out in this area soon as part of the council’s routine maintenance.

The pathway at Arcot Park.The pathway at Arcot Park.

“The bank will be cut by a tractor and flail, overhanging vegetation on the path strimmed and leaves blown off the path.

“The bank is steep and therefore difficult to maintain and is left to grow longer on the grounds of health and safety due to the steepness, as well as wildlife.

“There is one small section of the path where large tree roots have raised the ground and the path needs some attention.”

“The work will be carried out as a priority.”

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