Question over who is responsible for collapsed wall in Shepton Mallet
The question of who is responsible for repairs to a collapsed wall along a footpath in an historic part of Shepton Mallet used regularly by people living in the town remains unresolved.
The problem surrounds a wall along a footpath over a bridge at Lower Lane. The Shepton Mallet Amenity Trust owns the footpath and adjoining wall. In the mid 1970s there was a joint project between the trust, Somerset County Council and Mendip District Council which involved opening a new footpath between The Batch and Lower Lane over a bridge that had previously joined Edengrove House with part of its gardens.
A plaque celebrating its opening in 1977 marks the spot. At that time the trust believed that once the path was completed responsibility for it and the walls was with the county council and over the past 20 years the county council has undertaken repairs.
But last summer a portion of the wall slid down into a private car park ten feet below and the county council now says it will not foot the bill for repairs.
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In a letter to Shepton Mallet Town Council, trust secretary Alan Stone said: "Although the Amenity Trust accepts that it owns the footpath, walls and bridge it has absolutely no resources to deal with it."
At last week's town council meeting town, district and county councillor John Parham said that the situation appeared to be at an impasse. The county council did not want to take it on and face a bill amounting to several thousands of pounds. He suggested approaching bodies such as English Heritage or the National Lottery for a grant.
Councillor Chris Inchley said he felt that the county council should take on the responsibility for the walls on a footpath used regularly by the public.
He said: "It is wholly unfair to expect an organisation like the trust, which has no back up, to meet the cost."
The town council will seek advice on the possibility of winning outside funding.