In today’s ‘Dear Editor’ section, public spirited citizen David Ainsworth writes about Havering’s ‘No go’ area.
A popular part of Havering, which was well-used by ramblers, dog walker, casual strollers and recreational walkers is now a near “no go” area as Havering Council have knowingly allowed it to become overgrown and inaccessible. That’s the charge levelled by public spirited Romford resident Dave Ainsworth, who added that this area is now so unpleasant, hardly anybody visits it.
Mr.Ainsworth refers to Public Footpaths 19 and 63, which both run westwards from White Hart Lane in Collier Row, a well used path along the River Rom’s east bank which connects both public footpaths and an adjoining area known locally as the Overspill Lake, which has a well worn and much used path around its perimeter.
Keen walker Mr.Ainsworth, a former Welsh Senior 3,000 Metres Race Walk Champion, said “I’ve walked around this un spoilt area since the mid-1970s and it’s the first year I’ve known it to be neglected. On May 31st when it hadn’t been attended to once this year, I notified the Council’s Streetcare Department, the Council Leader and three Mawney Ward Councillors. On June 14th, I visited the site only to find my report had been ignored. I was contacted and promised it would be dealt with, but on Friday 18th June it was still untouched. In short there’s now part of Havering inaccessible to our Borough’s citizens”.
Mr Ainsworth recalled that this area had always been looked after, so is dismayed that it’s not been cared for all year. He said, “On May 31st I was scratched when trying to force my way through a blocked path. On two subsequent visits I’ve had to abandon my walks as I couldn’t get through total blockages”. He pointed out that parts of this area are official public paths, to which the public are permitted to use, but now can’t. Mr. Ainsworth suspected the situation may have arisen as the Council’s Streetcare Department had recently lost the services of a number of loyal long-serving employees, particularly one who’d always shown strong commitment to this area.
He said the task wasn’t a major one saying, “Nobody wants a Wimbledon standard lawn finish. Far from it, as this area provides a wonderful natural habitat for wildlife and particularly insects. All visiting this large area west of White Hart Lane seek only paths that are lightly trimmed to enable easy access on foot”.