Literally hundreds of people in Rastrick have been adversely affected by the blocking of the footpath between Crowtrees Lane and Jumble Dyke this time last year by the owner of part of the land, writes Coun Christine Beal (Con, Rastrick).
Not only has it prevented the local community from accessing facilities around Rastrick in the way they have been able to for over a hundred years, it has caused significant safety concerns due to people having to unnecessarily negotiate a busy main road instead.
Such a blockage is illegal if the footpath is on the definitive map. However, a major backlog in Calderdale Council’s Rights of Way applications, along with an inappropriate prioritisation system, meant an estimated waiting time of several more years for this footpath to be considered for inclusion on the definitive map. Clearly not acceptable.
Recommendations have already been made to council to amend policy in this area to the benefit of the whole borough, and we await the outcome of this with interest. However, I’m delighted to report that the submission of significant evidence to council proving the footpath’s use as a public highway has resulted in council serving a Section 143 notice to the landowner, without the need for it to be on the definite map. This means that if the landowner chooses not to remove the obstruction within a stipulated time, council can do so. I have been assured that this will definitely be before the start of the new term. May I take the opportunity to thank the many people who have come forward from the community to support a positive resolution in this matter.
It will be fantastic to see the footpath back in use again soon.