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Improvements to flooded Running Furrows path near Priory Ruskin Academy in Grantham hailed as a ‘great result’

Improvements have finally been made to a footpath which was flooded after a resident spent a year battling authorities to get it repaired.

The Running Furrows path, which passes by Priory Ruskin Academy in Grantham, has now been fixed after suffering from a string of flooding issues. It is mainly used by pupils and Manthorpe residents.

Manthorpe resident Andy Wells spent over a year in discussion with authorities which own the path, including Lincolnshire County Council, South Kesteven District Council and Network Rail. It is leased to Sustrans - a walking, wheeling and cycling charity.

The newly improved path is used mainly by Priory Ruskin Academy students.
The newly improved path is used mainly by Priory Ruskin Academy students.

He said the improvements are a “great result”.

Andy, whose step-daughter attends Priory Ruskin, added: “It has been a problem for years.

“It was something that was affecting children’s education.

“The children would walk to school and, if their feet got wet, they wouldn't have lockers so there would be nowhere to put their footwear.

“For some parents, they may not be able to afford new footwear. It feels like a real achievement.

“With children’s education (impacted), it needs to be dealt with.”

The Running Furrows path was continually floode.
The Running Furrows path was continually floode.

The northern section of the path is owned by LCC, while the southern section is owned by SKDC and Network Rail.

LCC claims it fixed the southern section as it could not get SKDC, Network Rail and Sustrans to “step up” to maintain their section.

Executive member for highways Richard Davies (Con) said: “Having had a really positive response on our earlier works on the northern section – which is the area that we are responsible for - Coun Martin and I listened to the local resident’s concerns and made trying to get something done on the southern division a priority.

“We then also began the process of trying to get SKDC, Network Rail and Sustrans to sort their section.

“So far, we have not had success in getting any of them to step up, but the impact on local people meant that we couldn’t stand by in this case.

“I saw first-hand the flooding, and spoke on-site to local walkers and parents who were frankly sick of it.

“So, and to stress again that this isn’t an area we are responsible for, we felt it necessary to do some work for residents and those that walk here.

“In the last couple of weeks our contractors have used some heavy-duty materials to build up the level, so hopefully flooding here should be a thing of the past.

“In the meantime, we’ll continue to lobby the landowners to take responsibility for their property and do the right thing by those who had told Coun Martin and I about what was going on.

“For now, I am very happy that we were able to find a way to do some work here that improves the area for those who came to us and told us of their issues.”

Sustrans said the Running Furrows path is not part of the National Cycle Network and confirmed it recently held discussions with Network Rail about “relinquishing” its lease.

A spokesperson for SKDC said it “recognises its important” to maintain the path and is “keen to work with the other stakeholders to maintain it for all users”.

The spokesperson added: “Having noted its condition, and following conversations with local councillors and local residents – which are ongoing – SKDC obtained a quote for temporarily resurfacing the whole path and, as a gesture of goodwill, we were happy to undertake the work.

“This required confirmation that agreement would be forthcoming from Lincolnshire County Council, which was also asked to ensure the path would be protected as a public right of way.

“While we remain committed to collaborative working to repair the remainder of the pathway, we cannot undertake work on land that we do not own without the appropriate permission being in place.

"We did not receive a response so were surprised to learn that Lincolnshire County Council had undertaken work independently on this occasion without engaging with us.

"However, we look forward to working with LCC and other stakeholders to maintain this well-used footpath in the future.”

The issue was first raised by previous county councillor Ray Wootten and, more recently, Coun Paul Martin (Con, Grantham Arnoldfield).

He said: “I am sure it will come as a relief to many school children, parents and local residents to see the new surface on the running furrows pathway.

“When I was elected in November I made this a top priority to unravel the complex ownership arrangements and discuss the options with all the relevant organisations.

“What was clear was something had to be done and we were in a stalemate position.

“Matters have certainly moved forward and with the recent bad weather making the pathway almost unpassable at times, despite reservations regarding ownership, Lincolnshire County Council Highways have stepped in.

“There is still more to be done and we’ll continue seeking the best solutions for our community.

“I hope this has improved the situation for the residents and the schoolchildren can now concentrate on their schoolwork and not their soggy shoes!”

What do you think of the improvement works? Let us know your views in the comments below.

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