Plea to re-open Ascot 'lifeline' pathway

Published: 26 Jan 2014 12:301 comment

A TRAIN operator’s decision to close a major footpath from Ascot railway station to High Street has forced residents to appeal for it to become a public right of way.

Peter Watts, a wheelchair user, is one of those affected by South West Train's decision to close the pathway from the station to High Street.

Peter Watts, a wheelchair user, is one of those affected by South West Train's decision to close the pathway from the station to High Street.

As previously reported by the News, the pathway was closed in mid-November by South West Trains – which operates the station and owns the path – without any prior notice.

Officials from the firm cited leaves and poor weather conditions as the reason for the closure, leaving the path slippery and dangerous.

This has meant commuters and locals have had to use Station Hill as a route to High Street and Heatherwood Hospital but this path narrows underneath the railway bridge, meaning wheelchair users and parents with buggies cannot use it.

The Station Hill route was out of action two weeks ago because of heavy flooding, meaning residents were forced to take a two-mile detour through Sunninghill to reach High Street.

And now, North Ascot resident Gordon McCulloch is attempting to liaise with the Royal Borough to try and get the path’s status changed to a public right of way to ensure it is reopened.

“To prove to the council that the path is well used, he needs to gather evidence from residents to confirm that there has been heavy footfall there over the past 20 years.

He said: “It is not slippery out there at all and closing it for wet leaves is just strange. It’s not like any other paths have slippery leaves on them!

“It’s just very frustrating. I’ve tried to challenge South West Trains but they just seem to reiterate the same point.

“They seem pretty good at making the life of both commuters and locals a misery.”

South Ascot resident Peter Watts, who uses an electric wheelchair, has described the pathway as a “lifeline”.

“I need the path so I can reach the shops and the hospital.

“I am just being cut off and the train company don’t seem to care at all. It’s a bit wet but I wouldn’t say it was icy.”

Cllr David Hilton, of Ascot and Cheapside ward, has held several meetings with residents over the past fortnight, and is also taking their concerns to National Rail in a bid to get the path re-opened.

Cllr Hilton said: “I want to see how we can resolve this amicably. What I am keen to do is to discuss several options so we can come to a solution.”

Anyone wanting to confirm they are a regular user of the path should email

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  • Oceaneyes62
    1 post
    Jan 27, 20:18
    Report abuse

    I have lived in Ascot most of my life and have never known the path to be closed and there have been leaves falling every season since time began. So all in all I would say its a totally lame excuse and the truth might be more respected.

    I fully support the option of council ownership and it being a public right of way for all residents. Mums with pushchairs and prams and wheelchair users are being penalized without valid reason, could it be a human rights issue?

    Recommend?   Yes 0     No 0