Residents near Worksop left baffled as historic footpath fenced off without warning

Residents in Whitwell are campaigning for answers after a historic shortcut footpath was fenced off – making one villager miss her bus.

Thursday, 16th June 2022, 12:17 pm

Nine residents in Whitwell have come together under the name Jubilee Gardens Crew after concerns they would lose public access to steps leading from Jubilee Gardens to the main road, Bakestone Road.

At the beginning of May, residents found the path, which has been there for up to 100 years, had been fenced off without notice or consultation.

This led to one resident missing her bus and other users having to take a long detour, adding almost 10 minutes to their journey.

The Jubilee Gardens Crew held a celebration to mark the beginning of their campaign during the Queen's Platinum Jubilee year.

Coun Mick Yates, Derbyshire County Council member for Bolsover North, has helped the residents in their campaign and speculated the path may have been closed on the grounds of safety, due to a lack of maintenance.

It is thought some residents removed the fence themselves, before the ‘Crew’ restored the steps.

Andrea Pilgrim, for the group, said: “The steps have been part of the village for longer than most of us in the Crew have been alive. They are part of the village heritage and have invoked so many memories for people, some as far away as Australia and America.

“We do not want to lose them and we are campaigning for them to be a public right of way. To even think of closing Jubilee Steps on the Queen’s Jubilee year is just wrong.”

Pictured is majority of the Jubilee Gardens Crew.

Coun Steve Fritchley, Bolsover District Council leader, was asked to visit the site by local councillors to look at the footpath and agreed to meet residents on site.

He said: “I have visited the area and met residents to discuss the issue and listen to their concerns.

“The footpath clearly exists and I fully support the residents in their campaign.

“It does need some work undertaking to improve the surface, which we are now in the process of procuring (for the areas in our ownership) and we have also requested the county council look at the area adjacent to the highway, which is their responsibility.”

A county council spokesman said: “Looking at our records, there is not a footpath recorded in this location on the Definitive map and Statement, the legal record of all public rights of way. As it is not recorded on the Definitive map, this means we do not maintain the path. We are not aware who is putting the gates up and have had no contact from anyone.”

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