A CAMPAIGNER was forced to threaten Kirklees Council with legal action before it would investigate a blocked footpath.
John Fawcett says he was appalled after officers at the council fobbed off his complaint that a fence was blocking a public right of way between Wellhouse Lane and Greenside Road in Mirfield.
Mr Fawcett, who is Kirklees’ representative for the Open Spaces Society, said he was told the blockage was a “minor issue” and “there was no reason” for them to visit the location to investigate.
He said: “I told them the fence was overhanging and anybody with a push chair or who is disabled wouldn’t be able to get through.
“I got a reply but it really was a bit patronising.
“They said they didn’t consider it obstructed and it wasn’t worthy of a visit.”
Determined to get the path attended to, Mr Fawcett served a notice on the council under section 130A of the Highways Act, formally requesting it to reopen the path or face court action.
He said: “I was annoyed about the reply and that’s why I served notice on them.
“Low and behold a few days later it was cleared.
“It’s completely unneccesary, all they had to do was go out and visit and we wouldn’t have had to go through all this rigmarole.
“They call everything a minor issue but what are they doing with the money?
“I know it’s not a beautiful footpath and there are spending cuts but they’ve still got a duty to maintain public rights of way.
“I don’t like getting nasty like this but it matters to me that all footpaths are clear.”
He added: “In these times when people are always on about obesity they should get it sorted as walking is good for your health.
“The footpaths would all get used if they maintained them and many are handy shortcuts for kids going to the shops to keep them away from the roads.”
Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, added: “We congratulate John on his persistence in getting the path reopened.
“An overhanging fence which puts walkers at risk is not a minor issue, and we are pleased that the council has acted.”
Kirklees Council declined to comment.