The trouble is that this wall is not guarded and hedged about with razor wire and so people that have children in the nearest primary school lying in the direction that good ol' crow so beloved by the County Council flies, want to walk to school.
We haven't done a survey, but maybe it's because they do not own cars, have one car per household and it's needed for work, or maybe because they are concerned, as good responsible citizens, for their own health and wellbeing and that of their children. Maybe they are getting ready for Transition to a zero carbon economy. Any which way, politicians of all shades and planners should be supporting this choice and making it obtainable.
Choosing this route means that for five minutes risking life and limb in the mud slithering down a steep bank to a hole in the hedge with toddlers falling onto nettles and babies in buggies, they gain 4 x 15 minutes (an hour) a day in time saved from walking the other way. The other way being the focus of a previous Oakdale Links campaign because for two years it was without lights and had holes in the road. The surface has still not been completed and huge concrete barriers carry on the Socialrealismus and 'Checkpoint Charlie' ambiance despite the old guard hut being finally demolished. (We would have converted it and turned it into a community facility by a kitchen garden that would have supplied fresh fruit and veg to people, but that is another story.) It's not great, it's still not that safe and it's in the wrong direction, but soon I am predicting it will be the only choice. Cue the razor wire around the People's Choice.
Because that 100 yards of land equals potential profit. Never mind that it's the boggiest spot in a the whole development and would yield all the same problems for householders as the rest of our gardens (and then some). Never mind the promise of an estate 'permeated' by footpaths.
Never mind that the ill-informed opinions of a few have held sway and denied safe passage for hundreds of people four times a day to the neighbouring road, Lakeside Avenue. There is no mention of the rights and needs of the community that live here no matter how much authorities kowtow to the ideology and rhetoric of Asset Based Community Development. Profit before people and town centre rennovations before ghetto.
But see, this is the thing. That school has recently become the first in the County to achieve an award for its training of students in Human Rights. The head teacher organised letters from the children who lived here asserting their Human Rights to our MP. Our MP came to visit them. We presume that he has the ear of the Prime Minister as he is the Chief Whip. If all the government initiatives that would support a footpath as the blessed crow flies straight and safe to school were implemented, who could put up an argument not to have this route validated, made safe and a part of all future plans for Oakdale. Sustainable development, health and wellbeing, community initiatives like a walking bus, enabling parents to get back home sooner thus increasing the chances of being able to do a part time job....makes sense doesn't it? Thinking about it also released people to a creative community brain storm. Someone offered pallets to make a path. Someone else offered a circular saw to cut them up. Several options were tossed around and bark chips as a degradable temporary solution suitable for buggies and little people seemed to be a good idea. Volunteers sprang out of the shadows and a work party was set up to strim nettles. The ghetto is an edgy and creative place and always has been.
Yeah, but no.
Not if you are willing to turn a blind eye to all of that because the bling of developer's promises distracts the crow from his flight path and inveigles him westwards when he was supposed to lead us East. We presume a shot gun awaits and expect every day for the razor wire to come and fill that gap in the hedge. Health and safety and all that. Can't have people walking just where they want to/ need to/ should be allowed to can you now? Not with all that bling dancing just out of sight. Caw!