Lindfield man's four-year battle with council over ‘dangerous’ footpath

A Lindfield man has hit out at the council over a ‘dangerous’ footpath in the village which he said has been left unattended for four years.

David Walker, 79, of West View, Lindfield, said he has been to the council a number of times about getting the footpath resurfaced but keeps getting told it is not the council’s responsibility.

David Walker next to the dangerous footpath. Photo by Steve Robards

David Walker next to the dangerous footpath. Photo by Steve Robards

However, the 79-year-old said he has ‘clear evidence’ it is the council’s responsibility and is now calling for an end to the four-year battle.

He said: “All I want is for it to be resurfaced and for the council to accept that it is their responsibility. The cost to resurface it is minimal – I am not asking for the earth!

“It is really frustrating, I don’t know where to go to next. It doesn’t look nice and it is extremely dangerous – especially if an elderly person is to walk down here.”

Mr Walker said he first complained about the footpath to the council in 2014. He said contractors came out and partially dug it up but ‘did not get very far’.

He said he went back to the council and asked why the job had not been finished and was told it was not the council’s responsibility.

He said this did not make sense as the council had maintained the footpath over the years and used to come down every year to spray weed killer on it.

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He added that the footpath was constructed by Cuckfield Urban District Council, now known as Mid Sussex District Council, in 1965.

He said: “Every time I have been to the council about it they say it is not their responsibility. But I have clear evidence that it is. And it is not our responsibility as our deeds say so.

"The council can’t expect us to finance it. This is simply a money saving exercise and bully-boy tactics. The council should just accept the responsibility and maintain the footpath.”

Mr Walker said he ‘finally saw light at the end of the tunnel’ when he approached Garry Wall, leader of the district council, about it.

He said he was told by Mr Wall that the footpath ‘would be sorted’ but nothing ever happened.

He said the footpath was now in a dire state due to wear and tear over the years.

He added: “We are not the only people that use it, the general public use it. If anybody was to have an accident there would be no recourse.”

A spokesman for the district council said: “Our records and those of the Land Registry confirm that the path in question is not owned by the district council.

“We can understand the frustration of Mr Walker at this situation and would like to help him find a solution if we can. We intend to carry out further investigation to find who is actually responsible for the land.”