Father asks county council for safer walkways in village

An avid walker claims the countryside walkways in Ashington have become ‘impassable’ in the last few years.

Ed Jowett is pleading with West Sussex County Council to improve Ashington’s ‘mud entrenched’ walkways before it gets worse.

JPCT 250213 Ed Jowett with son Oscar 18 months - complaining about the state of some of Ashington's public footpaths. Photo by Derek Martin

JPCT 250213 Ed Jowett with son Oscar 18 months - complaining about the state of some of Ashington's public footpaths. Photo by Derek Martin

The 37-year-old said: “I’m a dog owner, so I use the footpaths on a daily basis.

“We have three main pinch points for residents to cross over into the nearby fields, but for the last few years they’ve become impassable because of the wet weather we’ve been experiencing.”

The ‘pinch points’ Mr Jowett refers to include the access through to America Wood and Kissing Gate that he said are ‘entrenched in mud’.

He said: “The council have a legal obligation to make sure people have access through these walkways.

“If people are frail or disabled they’re losing their right of access.”

Ashington bridle ways have recently been resurfaced with specialist gravel for easy access.

Mr Jowett claims you cannot access these bridle ways unless you trek through the walkways.

He said: “The council aren’t getting the full value of their investment.”

Ina response to Mr Jowett’s letter of complaint, Tom Weedon, rights of way access ranger, said: “Resurfacing works have to be prioritised across the entire county and it is difficult to undertake all the requested works with the limited funding that is available for such tasks.”

Ashington Parish Council clerk Karen Dare said: “West Sussex County Council is responsible for public footpath maintenance, the parish council simply pass residents’ concerns to them.”