Anger as council says it’s not responsible for path

Alleyway pettition, Joan Avenue, Heanor. Tom Conniffe.
Alleyway pettition, Joan Avenue, Heanor. Tom Conniffe.

A CAMPAIGN to get a Heanor footpath repaired has suffered a setback after Derbyshire County Council claimed it was not its responsibility.

Tom Conniffe is fighting with the council because the footpath links his street to the high street and he says it is in a dangerous state of disrepair.

Mr Conniffe, of Joan Avenue, says he has documents proving that the steeply sloping alleyway, is a public right of way and is the responsibility of the county council to maintain.

In May he sent the authority a petition with 74 names on it, asking that it repaired the pathway.

But a spokesperson for the authority responded by telling him: “I can confirm that the alleyway referred to in the petition is not recorded in the definitive and statement of public rights of way.”

The response has left Mr Conniffe, 66, outraged, as he says the authority had maintained the site up until two years ago.

He said: “If it was going to change the records, the council should have informed everyone in the street.”

“All I want is a six foot wide Tarmac surface for people with pushchairs, mobility scooters and walking sticks to be able to get up the path.”

Mr Conniffe, who has a replacement hip and has recently had major surgery which left him struggling to walk, started the campaign after he fell on the loose alleyway surface.

He later discovered that other people had suffered injuries along the path.

Now the county council has asked Mr Conniffe to fill in modification order forms to get the pathway enlisted as a recognised right of way.

It will be added to the Definitive Map of rights of way if he can provide evidence that it has been used for that purpose over a number of years.

He will need 20 others to back his cause.

But Mr Conniffe is adamant it is not his job to sort it out.

He said: “It shouldn’t be my responsibility, I’ve given them the papers proving that this has existed since 1945 – it is there in black and white. It is just council red tape gone mad.”

This week a spokesperson for the council, said: “After being approached by Mr Conniffe we have advised him of the steps he must take and will continue to offer support should he or anyone else wish to start this process.”