Footpath improvement project in Hailsham completed
Work on upgrading part of a byway in Hailsham well used by residents has been completed ahead of schedule.
Following the successful completion of the Western Road Recreation Ground perimeter path installation project earlier this year, the Town Council once again partnered with Hailsham Active to help towards a project undertaken to improve a section of the byway known as ‘Hailsham 18a’ – which runs from the Diplocks housing estate to the nearby industrial estate.
Approximately 150 metres of the byway walking route, which was often unusable during the autumn and winter months due to its heavy clay base and consequent water saturation, has been upgraded in a similar way to the Western Road Recreation Ground perimeter path, albeit narrower, making the path accessible to the public all year round.
The byway improvement project, spearheaded by Hailsham Active and funded by East Sussex County Council, involved extensive consultation with East Sussex Highways and local contractors, and was well-supported by local residents and the Diplocks Industrial Estate.
Hailsham Active Chairman, Steve Wennington said: “We discussed this upgrade many times before with the Town Council, Wealden District Council and East Sussex Highways and all parties were in agreement that it is a prime candidate for improvement. It was just a lack of funds and commitment to the project, which was eventually secured.”
“Following the amazing success of the Western Road Recreation Ground path project, we decided to target the Hailsham 18a byway as our next project and are grateful for the support from the Town Council and Chandlers BMW/Mini from the outset and for the generous funding from East Sussex County Council.”
“We were again very fortunate to have been provided with the free advisory services of retired Highways consultant and fellow Hailsham resident, Ralph Olsen, so we put together a detailed objective and costing plan and were able to satisfy East Sussex County Council of a plan they were able to support.
“Thanks also to Charlotte Still and Clare Whistler of Hailsham Waterweek – and various volunteers and community groups for their help with the clean-up of the path in recent months.”
Mr Wennington added: “The overall project consisted of two parts – the upgrade to the path itself – and the clearance of fly-tipping and excessive littering. Both related to our physical and mental health, also fitting in with the requirements outlined in the recently ratified Hailsham Neighbourhood Development Plan – policy ‘TC2’ under ‘public realm projects’.”
Deputy Town Clerk & Business Enterprise Manager Town Clerk Mickey Caira commented: “It became clear that this particular byway upgrade and tidying project could potentially be a catalyst for further footpaths being improved in Hailsham in the future, for the benefit of local residents and indeed the town as a whole.”
“In terms of the fly-tipping and rubbish clearance specifically, Hailsham Active has been very fortunate to have received hands-on support from local volunteers and clean-up groups. One such campaign undertaken by these wonderful people recently, was the clearing of the stream near Butts Field – which had a mattress and even an abandoned car there!”
“We must all remember that remaining healthy and active requires safe and easy access to walking routes all year round and, as parts of Hailsham has considerable clay soil make-up, that could mean that there will be a need to carry out a lot of upgrades to existing byways and twittens in the future.”
Communications & Public Information Officer
Hailsham Town Council
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