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"It's an accident waiting to happen"

By John Lavery

Nene Close, Bourne, where residents are complaining about the lack of a footpath
Nene Close, Bourne, where residents are complaining about the lack of a footpath

Residents on a new housing development in Bourne have raised concerns about pedestrian safety as there is no footpath for children or parents with pushchairs to use.

They are unhappy that developers Larkfleet have not constructed a footpath, but Larkfleet say the plans for the development approved by South Kesteven District Council never included provision for a footpath.

At the moment people living on the Bourne Heights estate, off West Road, have to walk along a grass verge or in the road and then negotiate a busy roundabout to get into town on foot.

Nene Close resident Paul Turner said: “Currently my wife and kids have to walk round to the main roundabout, then try to cross a busy road just so we can get to school or to the shops.

“Clearly we are not the only family that do this. If we are driving then great, it’s fine but some people don’t have a car or may just prefer to walk.

“Can you imagine trying to push a buggy in the middle of winter on what is currently the only way we can get about?

“Once the weather turns more people will be forced to walk in the road. This is not right.

“This is a health and safety disaster waiting to happen and it only takes that one time, that lack of concentration, a careless driver for some poor soul’s life to be turned upside down.”

His views were echoed by neighbour Stacey Lane.

She thought she had found a safe footway route from the estate only to receive a letter from Larkfleet to say that the narrow strip of land linking Nene Close and West Road that she and her 13-year-old son have been using for the past year is actually private land and that she has been trespassing. That route has now been fenced off.

Stacey said: “My son and I had been using what we thought was a public right of way from our home through to West Road but we have now received a letter from Larkfleet saying that we are trespassing on private property.

“We’ve been living here for a year and had no idea that what we thought was a path was private land. My son walked to school along it, as did other children, and people with pushchairs regularly used it.

“It means we have no footpath on the estate, except a little section at the entrance to the estate, which peters out. We have to walk along a grass verge and then negotiate the busy roundabout onto West Road, which is very scary. It is a real safety issue.”

However, developers Larkfleet say there is nothing they can do as there has never been a footpath included in the approved plan for the development.

The firm’s technical director Dan Endersby said: “The approved plans can be seen on the South Kesteven District Council website and there are no plans for a footpath.

“The land at the front of the site is owned by a third party and so out of our control. We have built what we have approval to build.

“We have been liaising with Lincolnshire County Council highways and the Elsea Park Community Trust to see what can be done but basically our hands are tied.”

He confirmed that the strip of land bordering Nene Close that was being used as a cut through is privately owned and not a public right of way.

Elsea Park Community Trust was due to have a meeting yesterday, as the Mercury went to press, to discuss the possibility of acquiring the land from two separate landowners to build a footpath itself.

l What do you think? Have you been affected? E-mail smeditor@stamfordmercury.co.uk

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