Trust 'disappointed' with council solution for Welwyn Hatfield road
PUBLISHED: 09:39 25 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:39 25 June 2018
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North Mymms Parish Council has offered £500 to help patch up a pothole-ridden private road that is the only access to public land - but will it work?
Jonas Way in Brookmans Park is owned by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust (HMWT), and is the only access to popular council-owned space Gobions.
The trust claims that as the road is not the main access to its nature reserve, it is surplus to their requirements, and that the general public visiting Gobions Open Space are the majority of users.
So that the public can enjoy Gobions, the trust grants public access, but navigating the inches-deep potholes in the road has become an offputting prospect to motorists.
The issue has led to a discussion over which party has an obligation to repair the road, with Welham Green resident Duncan Lewis asking the council and the trust to put their heads together and address the conundrum.
“It’s got to the point now that it’s a real concern,” he told the Welwyn Hatfield Times in May.
The trust estimates that it would cost £20,000 to fully repair and maintain Jonas Way, and has asked the council to share the costs equally.
The trust argues that using its donations for the repairs - that they receive for wildlife conservation purposes - would not fulfil its charitable goals.
In response to invitations to apply for the council’s annual small grants fund, a spokesperson for the trust responded in a letter: “This was not a satisfactory solution because the grants would only have been a very small contribution to the repairs and it would still leave the trust needing to fund the whole of the rest of the project.”
The trust also rejected the council’s suggestion that it can apply for funds elsewhere, pointing out that “a funder would be unlikely to offer funding to the trust for the resurfacing work, as this does not represent our core aims as an organisation”.
At a meeting on May 30, the council offered HMWT up to £500 to spend on ready-mixed pothole repair materials, such as Viafix, as a goodwill gesture.
The trust told the Welwyn Hatfield Times that it is “disappointed” by the response.
A spokesperson said: “What they have suggested is a short-term solution and will, we expect, only last for one to two years.
“What we are looking for is a long term solution to the problems of Jonas Way.
“Additionally we have some concerns over the suitability of the suggested product to repair the potholes.”
Duncan, who said he doesn’t use Gobions Open Space any more because of the potholes, said he was glad that a conversation has started again, but is ambivalent about the latest proposal.
“At least they are trying to do something about it,” he said.
“But it needs a long-term answer.
“Hopefully they both realise that between them it’s their responsibility.”