Advice has been drawn up for Manor Park residents, Uckfield, who want to find ways of making safe estate twittens and footpaths which are in a poor state of repair.
The guide has been compiled by The Manor Park and Hempstead Fields Residents’ Association in a bid to overcome problems that have arisen because the routes were not adopted by the local council when the estate was built in the 1960s.
Most of the paths are owned by private householders, usually with ownership shared between neighbouring properties.
Sometimes up to 80 properties share the responsibility for maintenance of one or two stretches of path.
The residents’ association says: “With the paths not adopted, maintenance arrangements were not put in place and as a result general wear and tear, together with disturbance during utility repairs has left most of the footpaths and twittens on Manor Park in varying states of poor repair.”
Questions and answers
Questions and answers about responsibilities and ways forward are included in the Manor Park Footpaths and Twittens Toolkit which can be found on the association website.
One of the questions relates to responsibility if there is an accident on one of the paths. The answer warns that ‘if the owners are aware of the risks and have done nothing to improve things, then the responsibility will probably fall on the joint owners for the proportion noted in their deeds’.
Another answer says that if the footpaths are brought up to an adoptable standard then East Sussex County Council would normally formally adopt them and so it would then be responsible for future maintenance and repairs.
There are suggestions on how to find out which paths you are responsible for, how to tackle the problem, what to do if there is a problem with people agreeing to contribute to the cost and how to select a firm to do any work.
The twittens and footpaths toolkit was launched at the Manor Park and Hempstead Fields Residents’ Association AGM.
Chairman Paul Sparks emphasised that the answers provided were for guidance and based on local knowledge and experience.
He added: “Please remember, we are not lawyers or surveyors and so the information provided is not intended as an authoritative interpretation of the law or your rights as a householder.
“I recommend that residents consider obtaining independent professional legal and technical advice before proceeding with any work.”