'No-one taking responsibility' for danger road in Reedley
Reedley Parish Councillor Carole Johnson has warned it is only a matter of time before a serious accident occurs on Wood End after an earlier accident left safety railings in the adjoining river.
Coun. Johnson, who is a nearby resident, said she had contacted various bodies including Pendle Borough Council, Lancashire County Council and the Health and Safety Executive, but none were willing to take responsibility.
She said: "I am very concerned for both pedestrians and motorists who travel along this country road. The road, although unadopted, is also a public footpath and we regularly getgroups of hikers along here to join either the Bronte Way or the Pendle Way, and as there is no speed restriction imposed, some cars travel along the road too fast.
"In both cases I think it is when, rather than if, there is an accident and someone ends up either in the river or impaled on the railings.
"At the moment this problem is being ignored by all the departments and it is only a matter of time before there is a serious accident with winter coming and ice on the road. Only two barriers remain now, the rest having slipped the 20 feet or so into the river."
Pendle Council confirmed that it had been unable to ascertain the owner of the road and that it was passing the matter back to Lancashire County Council, as the highways authority, for further action.
Pendle Council’s Countryside Access Officer Tom Partridge said: “We’ve investigated the damage to railings and the wall at the side of the private road and public footpath known as Wood End Road which was caused by an accident in June.
"We have details of the driver of the car which was in the accident and their insurance company. But we can’t make a claim against the driver because Pendle Council doesn’t own the land.
"Pendle Council is also not legally responsible for maintaining public footpaths, this is the responsibility of Lancashire County Council. We have tried to find out who owns the land but without success as there is no registered owner of it.
"Wood End Road is about seven metres wide where the railings are damaged and there is sufficient width to use the footpath safely. However the road is less safe because of the accident, as there’s now a large break in the railings.
"We would like to see the repairs carried out for reasons of safety and because the damage that’s been caused is unsightly. We’re passing this issue back to Lancashire County Council as the highway authority to make a decision on taking further action.
"Lancashire County is not responsible for the maintenance of private roads but it does have responsibility for maintaining public footpaths.
"We don’t know if this responsibility extends to sorting out the damaged railings on Wood End Road but we are hoping that the County Council will be in a stronger position legally to pursue an insurance claim.”
A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: "This road is not part of the adopted highway network, which means we're not responsible for maintaining it for use by vehicles.
"We do have some responsibilities to ensure it is safe to use for pedestrians, as it is part of a public right of way, however in safety terms it compares well with many paths which are part of this network where steep drops beside the path are a natural feature, and is more than wide enough for pedestrians to pass safely.
"At the same time we recognise that the railings did provide a benefit to pedestrians and will consider restoring them alongside other priorities for maintaining public rights of way."