Fury over Harborough footpath that has been flooded for weeks

Furious campaigners are calling for a flooded footpath on a new Market Harborough estate to be repaired.

Thursday, 27th February 2020, 12:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th February 2020, 12:20 pm
The flooded A58 footpath

Activists and local people on Farndon Fields are demanding urgent action after weeks of running into a brick wall.

They are stepping up pressure as a temporary bridleway on the sprawling development had to be closed after being battered.

Peter Pollak, 74, of Limner Street, Farndon Fields, is spearheading the campaign to “sort out” the notoriously bad A58 footpath.

Fuming Peter said: “This is a key route for people to the north-east of Angell Drive, near the Anglian Water Sewage Pumping Station.

“The path has been under water for weeks if not months and we are all sick of it.

“How can dog walkers, pedestrians and runners use this critical local right of way if it’s flooded all the time?”

The lifelong rambler and countryside supporter added: “The blockage is caused by water constantly collecting over a section of the footpath to a depth of up to at least six inches.

“It makes walking along there extremely difficult.

“The mess has obviously been made far worse by all the recent heavy rain we’ve had.

“But water always collects at this point even in summer so there’s obviously a serious problem which needs addressing now.

“There’s absolutely no point in giving people access to rights of way across the estate if we cannot use them.”

Cllr Paul Bremner, who represents the area on Leicestershire County Council, said: “This just isn’t good enough.

“Residents have been rightly contacting me and other local officials about the A58 public footpath.

“The path, I am told, is not owned by Leicestershire County Council but the local County authority would be expected to maintain it.”

Also a Harborough district councillor, he added: “County council officers have told me there is not a budget for it, but I will keep pushing for action.

“This is clear to residents as there is a county council footpath sign at each end of the path!”

The county council fired off a letter to Redrow, which is building houses on the estate, telling the major developer to stop the flooding.

The authority “served notice on Redrow PLC under the provisions of Section 163 of the Highways Act 1980 to require the company to prevent water from their site falling or flowing onto the public footpath (the highway)”.

But Redrow told the Harborough Mail they have now told the council they do not own the land.

The Tamworth-based housebuilder says the land is the responsibility of CJC Development.

A council senior access development officer has now given the company “14 days to carry out drainage works to remove the water and to prevent future flooding”.

CJC Development, based on Meridian Business Park, Leicester, will face having an enforcement notice slapped on them “if they fail to comply”.

CJC has been approached by the Harborough Mail for comment.

A county council spokeswoman said: “We have been made aware of flooding on a public footpath at Farndon Fields.

“We have asked developers, Redrow Homes, and landowners, CJC Development Company Ltd., to resolve these issues as a matter of urgency.”

Local residents are also demanding the council repairs a nearby flooded, potholed path linking up Rugby Close to Welland Park Road.

Meanwhile, a controversial stopgap bridleway on Farndon Fields has been reopened after being pummelled by vicious winds.

Builder Avant Homes said they had fixed a damaged hoarding which had temporarily closed off the route for safety reasons.

Responding to criticism that the bridleway wasn’t wide enough for horse riders, an Avant Homes spokeswoman said: “We understand horse riders are keen to gain access to the bridleway.

“However, the safety for all users of the route is a priority and must come first while heavy building works take place in that area of the site.

“We are continuing to work to open a further section of the closed bridleway in the coming months which will bring welcome improvements to the current alternative path, with the permanent route to be fully re-opened at the end of 2020.”

A county council spokeswoman said: “We are working closely with Avant Homes to ensure that the temporary bridleway is kept in a good condition and works continue towards the opening of a permanent bridleway.”