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Council criticised for blocked path in wake of vandalism
COUNCIL chiefs who condemned vandalism at a Weymouth beauty spot have come under fire for delaying access to the area.
Signs and fences blocking a popular access route to the Rodwell Trail have been damaged in what Dorset County Council described as a ‘pointless act of vandalism’.
It is urging people to take notice of the closure of the footpath which leads to the trail from Wyke Road Bridge.
The path has been closed since early last year due to a mini ‘landslide’ but locals say the condition of the route is not as bad as is made out and authorities should not waste time getting it repaired and opening it up again.
Friends of the Rodwell Trail committee member Ken Reed said he would ‘happily walk his grandchildren’ down the path in its current state as it had only dropped by a few inches – although he wouldn’t as it had been closed off.
He believes damage has come about because some people frustrated about the path being closed have forced their way through.
He said: “The Friends regret the damage which has been caused.
“But the council has taken a long time to correct the problem.
“It’s one of the main entrances and exits to the trail and there is no alternative in that area. The nearest is Buxton Road or off Chickerell Road, which is a long diversion.”
The path was closed off before the Olympics. When refurbishment work at Wyke Tunnel was completed this year, it was hoped the path would open up too but it remains blocked.
Mr Reed said: “If the experts say it’s unsafe we have to accept that but it sounds like health and safety gone mad.
“I think it’s usable. I would happily walk my grandchildren down there if it was open.”
DCC said vandals had removed signs and damaged fencing that was erected across the path to stop walkers. Gabion baskets full of rocks have been placed across the access point, with more fencing which has already been damaged.
Cabinet member for environment Hilary Cox said: “Removing these signs and fences is a pointless act of vandalism. They are putting themselves and other people at risk of injury or even worse.”
Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is responsible for the banked areas of the path.
The council spokesman for transport and infrastructure, Christine James, said: “We are working with the county council to investigate how the banked areas next to the footpath can be stabilised so that it can be reopened in the future.”
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