27 April 2009

Jobsworthy News: Council official to walk along a path that doesn’t exist

For sheer entertainment, our local newspaper takes some beating. Where else but in the Wells Journal would you find such surprising news in the run-up to Christmas as was revealed under the headline ‘BUSY TIME FOR POSTAL WORKERS’?

Last week came the extraordinary revelation that a County Council employee is going to walk along a path that doesn’t exist in search of ‘important trees’ – the full story of which seems worth sharing with a wider audience:

TREES DELAYING THE STRAWBERRY LINE

The possibility that there might be important trees along the proposed Strawberry Line path between Wells and Cheddar is the latest reason for delays on revealing details of the route.

Planners at Somerset County Council have now decided that they have to decide whether a tree survey will have to be carried out on the route as part of a planning application.

A council surveyor will have to walk the length of the path, which does not yet exist, and decide if trees might be damaged by cyclists, walkers and horse riders.

The surveyor will also have to contact all the landowners along the nine-mile route of the proposed path to get permission to cross their land.

It is unclear how long it will take to carry out the initial survey, while a full tree survey would take months to complete.

A spokesman for the Strawberry Line Association, which is campaigning for the completion of the path said: “They must have a special procrastination department advising the planners.”

Previous designs for the path, along the route of the old railway line, have caused controversy because they cut through private back gardens and an industrial estate. Fundraising to pay for the path cannot start until planning permission is granted.

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