Town’s footpath is set to reopen after cash boost

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A FOOTPATH in Emsworth is set to finally reopen after being closed for nearly a year.

A dangerous crumbling wall, next to the path at North Street, Emsworth, caused the closure back in September.

The wall had become very unstable and leans into the footpath.

Havant Borough Council cordoned off the wall and closed the public footway for public safety, replacing it with a diversion route.

Last week, the leader of Hampshire County Council awarded a grant of £45,000 to the borough council to contribute towards the cost of rebuilding the wall.

Councillor Roy Perry, at his executive member decision day on July 20, also agreed to give an extra £10,000 to resurface the footpath.

The reconstruction of the wall will allow the footpath to be reopened.

It is a popular pedestrian route to and from the village centre.

Emsworth councillor Colin Mackey said: ‘I’m delighted as it’s a substantial step for the repair of the wall, however there are other things which need to be resolved before work can begin.

‘I feel very sorry for the residents who have been very patient.’

A complete rebuilding of the wall will cost around £130,000, with all future repairs and maintenance costs being Havant Borough Council’s responsibility.

Emsworth councillor Rivka Cresswell said: ‘I’m really pleased with the joint effort by the council and the borough to secure the funding for the repair of the wall.

‘It’s a relief as we have worked really hard to try to secure funding for it and we have finally come to an agreement.’

The borough council initially approached the county council last year seeking to split the repair costs in half, but this was rejected after the county council said it had no responsibility for the wall.

The ownership of the wall has been a long dispute between the two authorities.

Jo Dyer, chairwoman of Emsworth Residents Association, said: ‘I am happy the county council agreed to help pay for the wall and that plans are starting to take shape at last, but it has taken far too long.

‘The people of Emsworth have been very have been waiting since last year.’