A DESPERATE plea for help to repair a dangerous footpath has been issued by the manager at Plymouth Court Sheltered Housing.
Several senior citizens have fallen and hurt themselves on the rough and uneven section of path, which is only nine metres long but which is ‘owned’ by neither Redditch Borough Council nor Worcestershire County Council.
The path leads to Birchfield Road and is a well-used thoroughfare.
“Since it’s a pedestrian right of way it should be safe for pedestrians to use, but it is not,” said manager Linda Clement.
“The council have even asked if we would like to own it, but the damage has been done by vehicles, not pedestrians, and there’s no way we could afford it.”
She added that some 20 years ago she had persuaded the council to put a new surface on the path.
“I thought then they might adopt it,” said Linda, “but they didn’t.
“It’s now in a dreadful state. We have already had one bad fall where a lady had to be taken to hospital.”
She said that because the path is a public right of way it’s in regular use.
“It’s safe to negotiate if you are able bodied and it would seem such a simple matter just to put as new surface on the damaged section, but the council have washed their hands of it.
“It’s come down to who is going to pay for it if no one owns it, yet you cannot have a public right of way ending in a rutted section which is a danger.”
Plymouth Court consists of 52 bungalows occupied by ‘a considerable number of council tax payers’ said Linda.
“It’s an insane position we’re in and we just need someone to help us,” she said.
A spokesperson for Redditch Borough Council said they were no responsible for the upkeep of the path while a spokesperson for Worcestershire County Council said the path was a private access and not a publicly maintained highway.
“The highway responsibility for the footway ends 29 metres short of Plymouth Close,” they said.
Redditch South County Councillor Mike Rouse said: “I was helping Plymouth Court with this issue earlier this year and was liaising with the Borough Council and County Council to pick apart the issue, which as I understand it affects a very small number of residents who like to use the back access to Plymouth Court rather than going via the main entrance.
“I emailed Plymouth Court on September 27 to ask them about potentially taking on the ownership on the future once I got the road resurfaced first.
“I thought this was a reasonable question to ask, but I didn’t even get the courtesy of a response.
“When I met with Plymouth Court I set out a number of possible outcomes that we could work to achieve, and I am still happy to help if they want it.”