Contacting the Council

I wrote to East Sussex County Council about access to the slopes in Eastbourne, after being bounced around departments a bit I sent this message:

Can you tell me how to get the disabled access to Butts Brow & The Long Man of Wilmington improved please?

I would like a gate changed on Butts Brow carpark so I can get my wheelchair through, and a path similar to the one on Fairlight hills near the coastguard building put in so I can access the slopes shown on the map on this page:

I’d simply like the smoothness of the bridleway on the Long Man improved so my friends can push me up the hill – the path is illustrated on this

They replied:

Thank you for getting in touch about improving access at Butts Brow and along to Bridleway to the Long Man. The reference numbers for the two bridleways, for future reference are P05878 and P04937.

East Sussex County Council is responsible for maintaining the surface of 2,000 miles of footpath, bridleway and byway in the County.

We receive our budget for path surfacing in March each year.  At that time, we decide which paths can be improved within that budget.  As we have a limited budget for maintaining path surfaces, and we can only improve around five to ten path surfaces each financial year, we have to focus our work on the most urgent cases.

Unfortunately we do not have a duty to ensure public footpaths and bridleways have wheelchair access, and according to our records these particular bridleways are not in need of general improvements. My understanding is that the surrounding fields are grazed so it would be difficult to guarantee a high quality surface to the bridleways, suitable for wheelchair access, even if improvements were made in the future. However I have recorded your request so that in the future if any work is carried out you request will be noted.

Similarly, the gates around Butts Brow are recorded as being in good condition. Landowners are responsible for maintaining gates and stiles so if they are replaced in the future I have also made a note that you have requested wheelchair access for these gates. However, I cannot guarantee when this would be I’m afraid and it would be up to the landowner what was actually installed there.

I’m sorry we’re not able to address your requests at this stage but I hope this information is helpful in explaining the situation.

So it kinda died at this stage. They’ve said they’ll bare it in mind. `At least it’s a start, I will nagg them.

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