Dangerously overgrown footpath in Aylesbury left unresolved for weeks amid communication chaos

A public footpath in Berkeley Rise in Aylesbury has become so overgrown that it is virtually impassable – and extremely treacherous for younger children, the disabled or the elderly.

By Sam Dean
Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 4:22 pm
John Daynes (82) in the overgrown footpath
John Daynes (82) in the overgrown footpath

We were alerted to the awful state of the footpath by 82-year-old John Daynes, who can only access his front door from his parking space via the path.

Hardly surprisingly, Mr Daynes, who has five fractured vertebrae in his back and severe arthritis in his arms and hands, experienced a nasty fall only a week ago after tripping on the overgrown weeds and nettles, badly cutting his arms and knees.

Mr Daynes says he first contacted Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust about the path 8 weeks ago but was told by them that it was the responsibility of Aylesbury Vale District Council.

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The injuries John Daynes received from his fall in the dangerous footpath

The determined Aylesbury pensioner then wrote to district and town councillor Anders Christensen on the 24 August, and the councillor responded by saying “Let me look into it,” while suggesting it was probably the responsibility of Bucks County Council.

Six weeks later, and with no progress appearing to be made, an understandably frustrated Mr Daynes then decided to write to the Mayor of Aylesbury, Mike Smith, on 1 October. Neatly completing the circle, the Mayor replied to say that he would contact councillor Christensen about it.

One week on from this and again no action has been taken and no updates have been sent to Mr Daynes.

We have attempted to contact Anders Christensen and Mike Smith but are yet to receive a response to our message.

We have also contacted Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust, who told us that they could find no record of Mr Daynes having contacted them. But they did initially acknowledge the footpath was their responsibility and promised to resolve it immediately.

However, about an hour later we received an email from them saying that the path wasn't in fact their responsibility and that it's Bucks County Council (BCC) who managed it. They further informed us that they had logged a call with BCC.

A spokesperson for Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust said:

“Responsibility for the many footpaths and alleyways across Aylesbury is so complex, even we get confused sometimes. This is very frustrating for residents who just want their problem resolved. We understand that, and will be looking at ways we can work more closely with our council partners to reduce the frustration that residents feel.

I can confirm that the responsibility for the footpath at Berkeley Rise is the responsibility of Bucks County Council, and accordingly we have logged the overgrowth of weeds on as an emergency on Mr Dayne’s behalf, to be cleared as soon as possible.”

Remarkably, we have now been contacted by BCC to inform us that it is actually the responsibility of Aylesbury Town Council.

The official information from a TfB spokesperson is:

“Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) has liaised with Aylesbury Town Council, who have confirmed they will be adding this footpath to their schedule of works.”

We have reported it to Aylesbury Town Council who said that they are investigating the matter.

One might reasonably ask how residents are supposed to navigate this minefield when our various public bodies are unable to.

Please let us know if you have had a similar experience.