Closure of footpath gates spark complaints from Marton residents

Residents are unhappy with the closure of the footpath and want to be given keys to the gates
Residents are unhappy with the closure of the footpath and want to be given keys to the gates
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The closure of a footpath has sparked complaints from residents who used it regularly.

People living off Penrose Avenue in Marton said the closure of a footpath running past Baines School has increased the time it takes them to get their food shop – meaning many of them have begun using their cars instead.

Metal gates were put up at either end of the footpath by Blackpool Council in November 2017, so residents can no longer use it as a shortcut to the Asda supermarket and the nearby Home Bargains on Cherry Tree Road.

Kevin Raybauld, 69, who lives on Skipton Close, said: “We don’t mind it being closed because of the vandalism. All we are asking for is a key to the gates so that we can use the footpath again.

“A lot of us are older people, I’m 69-year-old and there’s no way I want to go down and vandalise or drop litter.

“A group of us have said that if the council provides us with weed-killer, we will help care for the path and keep it free from nettles and fit for purpose.”

The footpath was closed by the council after an application was submitted for a public space protection order in the area following complaints from local businesses about anti-social behaviour.

In documents available on the Blackpool Council website, police said there had been six crimes reported in the area since March 2016, including arson, criminal damage, and assault.

Mr Raybauld said: “The junction of Cherry Tree Road is a nightmare, so people are driving their cars past the school and making more air pollution for the kids.

“It’s environmentally unfriendly.

“The Council says let’s get everybody fit and walking and yet they are closing footpaths.”

Young yobs

Neale Daniels, owner of Blackpool Coach Services, supported the closure of the footpath due to anti-social behaviour reports.

In Council documents, he said: “As an employer, my duty of care is constantly compromised due to stones and bottles thrown by youths from the walkway, which is above my premises.

“Over the last few years , repairs to my customers vehicles have cost between £4,000 and £5,000 due to vandalism from missiles thrown from the walkway.

“Fly tipping has been a constant problem and still occurs with dog mess bags strewn everywhere.”