To commemorate the completion of the new footpath between our two villages it is planned to hold a formal walk on Saturday May 12th. For Marsworth residents the walk will begin at the Millenium Hall car park at 12 noon, walkers will travel to Westfield Rd in Pitstone using the new path and return. For those interested - just come along.
Those wishing to partake of food after the walk at any of Marsworth’s eating venues (Bluebells Café, The Red Lion and The Anglers Retreat) are recommended to book in advance since numbers may be greater than normal.
Marsworth to Pitstone Footpath - Issues Raised so far, and my comments:
1- People have been complaining at the waste of taxpayers money.
Almost all of the money (£200k) came from the AVDC New Homes Bonus Scheme - a fund which has been provided by Central Government to assist areas which have sustained large scale housing development and provide facilities to those communities. Castlemead, with almost 500 new homes, is such a development but it was not made a condition of that development that a footpath connect Castlemead to the next village, Marsworth (or indeed Cheddington). I contend that such large developments in villages should connect safely by pathways to adjacent villages as a matter of course and a condition of planning approval. Otherwise the new development is isolated and residents are forced to use cars. Also this path cost less than any one house sells for on the Castlemead Estate.
The feasibility study costs were borne by the Wing Local Area Forum, a body set up by AVDC & Bucks County to foster projects which benefit communities within our immediate region, because the path is of clear benefit to both Pitstone and Marsworth it was given priority.
A small sum has come from funds raised through the precept (funded by Council Tax) over past years by each of the 2 Parish Councils and a further small sum came from the Community Chest, a discretionary fund for local projects controlled by the County Councillor.
The roadway was clearly dangerous for pedestrians, pushchair and wheelchair users and it is much less so now - what is the value of a human life?
The path, except for the railway bridge section, lies entirely within Bucks Highways owned land and therefore ongoing maintenance cost will be borne by the County not the parishes.
2 - Pitstone has been given the rough end of the deal, because the eastern end of the path is of lower specification than the western end.
The path on the east side of the hilltop is of a lower specification because it didn't have to be kerbed or tarmac surfaced (from a regulation viewpoint) being further away from the road edge, and the idea was to minimise cost because of limited funding availability. On the west side the path had to be kerbed and paved to comply with safety regulations because it is alongside the carriageway due to limited width of the roadside. It should be possible to upgrade the surface on the west side at a future date but clearly that will not be seen as a priority at this time, and it will be expensive.
It should be said that residents of BOTH villages have the EQUAL benefit of walking on the nice tarmac surface as well as the less nice road planings surface when they go between the villages. Also the parish boundary is the railway bridge and a considerably longer part of the poorer surface lies within Marsworth than Pitstone.
3 - The absence of signs at the crossing point is dangerous to pedestrians:
Signs are now installed.
4 - Why isn't the path a cycleway?
In sections it isn't wide enough to be safely used by cycles and Transport for Bucks/Bucks Highways are emphatic it should not be used by them.
Bob Kennedy - Marsworth Parish Council