Footpath repairs far from complete

Swindon Advertiser: Before maintenance on the Liden Drive footpath, residents including John McClay got out their shovels to dig a trench to chanel away floodwater. Residents say the issue has still not been resolved Before maintenance on the Liden Drive footpath, residents including John McClay got out their shovels to dig a trench to chanel away floodwater. Residents say the issue has still not been resolved

RESIDENTS in Liden have rejected claims that work to a footpath which took four years of campaigning to secure was completed.

The popular footpath, which runs for a 170-yard stretch along Liden Drive and serves as an access route to Great Western Hospital and Coate Water, proved hazardous in wet conditions, forcing people to walk in the road.

In October funding was secured for the work, which began in November, but residents were left confused when literature from councillors came through their door claiming work has been finished.

An article in the Handy Mag magazine carried comments from councillors in Liden and Eldene that work was done and dusted.

“That is just not true,” said John McClay, 74, of Sedgebrook. “Only part of it has been surfaced, and with a gravel type material. Walking on it is like going on holiday and walking on black sand. That section of the path has been stripped back to its base, and they have put this weak material on top.

“The other side of the bus lane has not been touched at all, as well as large sections of this path. Our councillors are just telling us to keep on pushing. We have been fighting for this for months and it is still a mess.

“When I last spoke to them a week ago they told me to keep fighting for it, so it’s baffling as to why they are saying the job is done.

“When they started in November I suggested all the way along that what we need is something solid and sturdy, which would last a long time and would not be affected by the wet weather.

“But rains recently brought away a lot of the gravel, and they had to come back to put in the drainage system.

It has had problems all along the way, and flooded a neighbour’s garden.

“They still haven’t done the bottom end or the stretch running from Whitebridge Moor. We still pay our council taxes, but we have got the worst roads in the area.”

Derique Montaut (Lab, Liden and Eldene) has been battling for the project on behalf of residents, and said the remainder of the job would be completed.

“The initial stages of concern for this footpath were raised four years ago, so it has been a long road,” he said. “I managed to get some money put aside to reinstate the footpath, and in the current climate that has been very difficult. There are two sections at the start and at the end that have not yet been done.

“Part of that has been because of the heavy rain recently and the area has been subject to flooding.”

Coun Montaut said money was available for the rest of the work, which should begin over the coming weeks.

“I have been assured after pursuing this vigorously to get the finance that as soon as the weather changes the job will be completed,” he said.

“At the initial stages I thought the money had run out and there wasn’t enough to complete the job. I have now been assured that is not the case.

“With the high rainfall I don’t think it is going to be done immediately. I can understand the impatience of local residents in wanting it to be completed. I am happy for it to be completed in a month or so, but I would be very concerned if it went past that point.”

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