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Lancashire ramblers claim cuts double path problems
RAMBLING leaders have condemened budget cuts in Lancashire which they claim have doubled the number of pathway problems across the county.
Benedict Southworth, chief executive of the Ramblers Association, is angry that the county council has lost seven members of staff and seen its budget cut by ‘a third’.
Mr Southworth said that since the slimmed-down service had been in operation, the number of reported problems with pathways in Lancashire had increased from 790 to 1,583.
And the number of ‘rights of way’ issues which take more than two years to resolve has also trebled, he insists.
Mr Southworth said: “The Ramblers warned that cuts would have a devastating effect on footpaths and people’s ability to use them and now we are really starting to see the impact on the ground.
“Keeping paths clear is a small cost compared to the benefits they can bring to Lancashire’s health and happiness and we urge the council to properly invest in this vital facility.”
He said walkers would only be discouraged if they set out on treks, only to discover halfway round that their route has been blocked or altered.
County council officials were unavailable for comment last night.
Next week the authority’s regulatory committee would be considering proposals to alter two rights of way in East Lancashire.
Proposals to divert and extinguish public footpath number three in Salmesbury and similar provisons in respect of public footpaths 323 to 326 in Bacup will be considered by county councillors on Wednesday.
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