Ratepayers were delighted when council workmen repaired a damaged footpath with smart new tarmac. But their happiness turned to despair when bulldozers moved in and tore it up again only days later. Families complained to Castle Point Council that the repairs had been a waste of money.
In fact the bulldozers belong to contractors Laurence Homes, who are building the new Hilton Suburb estate through which the old footpath — raised on an embankment — runs. While clearing the site their bulldozers tore three giant gaps in the footpath, which runs from Waterside Farm to Somnes Avenue. They claim they had council permission to do it. One of the gaps was in the exact spot where council workmen had laid new tarmac following complaints from the Sixty Acres Residents’ Association. Their chairman, Mr. George Pollock, said: “I saw the council workmen fill and make good all the bad spots and it was a week at most before the contractors moved in and tore it up again.
A spokesman for Laurence Homes, who are building 450 houses on the site, said: “I am surprised anyone really uses the path now. “We have the full consent of the council to go ahead with this work and the path will still be open when we finish.” He said the three gaps would accommodate roads leading to a development of 50 houses on the north side of the path. When the work was finished the path would slope down to the pavement enabling walkers to continue using it.
West Ward Coun. Ray Howard, vice-chairman of the council, said he had received many complaints about the path being torn up. “I strongly objected to this,” he said. “Many people have complained to me and I have been in touch with the council.”
Mr. Bill Bone, the council’s chief technical officer, said they were investigating the matter. He said: “Our workmen went down to repair parts of the path.”