LOCAL councillors have slammed red tape after being told they can’t cut back an overgrown public footpath for health and safety reasons.
Whitby town councillors Phil Trumper and Dennis Collins plus the holders of nearby allotments volunteered to tackle thistles and nestles which have grown along Caedmon’s Trod – a well used footpath between the car park near the Abbey and the town centre – in their own time and for free.
They asked Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) if it could provide some tools and they would do the rest but the local authority turned down the offer.
Coun Trumper said the area had not been cut since last year, the path leading to the youth hostel is impassable and during wet weather people were slipping and falling into the nettles.
He said: “A bit of wet weather and sunshine and it has shot up.
“I have rung about it on a number of occasions.
“First of all it was ‘we will think about it’.
“I rang back and they said no because of health and safety.
“It is completely over the top – just ridiculous.
“What’s going to happen? We cut our legs off with a strimmer?”
Coun Trumper added SBC’s decision flew in the face of Prime Minister David Cameron’s idea for a ‘Big Society’.
He added: “People volunteer because they want to help out the community but when you want to help you get this health and safety.”