Residents won’t give up decade-long fight over Horncastle footpath

Philip Freestone and Brenda Griffiths alongside the overgrown footpath at the rear of  Thomas Gibson Way
Philip Freestone and Brenda Griffiths alongside the overgrown footpath at the rear of Thomas Gibson Way

Fed-up residents in a Horncastle cul-de-sac are refusing to give up a decade-long battle to get someone to take responsibility for maintaining a footpath close to their homes.

The path links Jessop Close with Mareham Road via a route to the rear of properties in Thomas Gibson Way.

Residents in Jessop Close say the path should be a popular route to the town centre - and for children to get to Banovallum School.

However, they claim it is ‘impassable’ because of nettles and brambles.

Philip Freestone and Brenda Griffiths, who live in Jessop Close, say the path was well-used when they first moved into their properties.

They understand one end of the path is maintained by Waterloo Housing who own properties on Jessop Close.

They add the Mareham Road end of the path is also well-maintained, apparently by a private householder.

However, the middle section of the path is ‘buried’ under weeds and Mr Freestone and Mrs Griffiths say no one will take responsibility for it - including the town and county councils.

Mrs Griffiths said: “It is an absolute disgrace.

“We have been trying to get the councils to do something for years.

“We’ve been to meetings. We’ve written letters but no one wants to know.

“I think it is because we live in Waterloo-owned houses.

“We pay our taxes but we’re treated like second class citizens.

“It would be a different story if we lived in some of the privately owned homes around here.”

Horncastle Town Council say they did attempt to clear the path after complaints from Jessop Close residents but add they stopped work after a staff member was ‘verbally abused’.

The council added the issue was who owned the middle section of the path.

The County Council said: “Although we are sympathetic to the residents’ situation, this is a private track, not LCC land, and not part of the public highway. That means it falls outside of our authority, and is instead the responsibility of the landowner. However, it has never been clear who owns the land, which is why this issue remains unresolved.”

Mrs Griffiths and Mr Freestone explained many of the residents on Jessop Close are elderly - and some have mobility issues.

Mr Freestone said: “It’s impossible for them to either walk or get their (mobility) scooters down the path.

“If they could, they could get into the town centre without needing to use cars.

“The council keep talking about improving congestion and improving pollution.

“They want us all to walk more yet here’s a footpath people actually want to use - but can’t.”

Mrs Griffiths said she had reported incidents of fly-tipping on the path but had not received a reply.

She claimed that on one occasion, garden rubbish thrown over a fence narrowly mised her head.

The duo both say the pathway used to have lighting but claim the lights were removed after residents on Thomas Gibson Way complained they were shining into their homes.

Mrs Griffiths added: “We’ve been campaigning for more than 10 years but I am not giving in. I’m not going away .”