A section of Footpath 24 Crich had been impassable since August 2009, and probably before that date. The path had thick vegetation on each side and the whole width was flooded so that it was impossible to walk on the path or bypass the mud, even when it had not rained for some time. The Society served a s56 Highways Act 1980 Notice on Derbyshire County Council. This Notice required the council to admit within one month that the path was a highway maintainable at public expense and that the council was responsible for its maintenance. The council responded accordingly. If the path had not been repaired within 6 months of the council’s response, the Society could have taken the matter to the magistrates’ court to ask for the council to be ordered to repair the path. In the event, the council had already planned to carry out repairs, but the Notice concentrated minds on the matter and the repairs were carried out quickly and satisfactorily.
The location of the problem is a short way south of the junction of Footpath 24 Crich with the road from Wheatcroft to South Wingfield, north of Crich village (grid reference SK 3518 5687).
The Society is prepared to take similar legal action wherever negotiation has failed to ensure that highway authorities carry out their statutory duties.