Monday 19 May 2014

Oh, Look, It's Sustrans In The News Again!

No, it's not for anything good. Is it ever?
When pensioner Jim Higgins decided to clear the brambles from a footpath at the bottom of his garden, he was only trying to help.
Many of his neighbours stopped by to thank the former police officer for all his work – which saw him replace a dilapidated fence and build a seat for weary walkers.
Awww, what a lovely story!

How public-spirited some people are! How they heed the call of David Cameron's 'Big Society' and make their little corner of England a better place for people.

Well, let's nip that sort of thing in the bud right now!
But not everyone was so delighted by the grandfather’s efforts. Soon Sustrans, the charity which owns the footpath, announced that they had health and safety concerns over his homemade bench.
Following a complaint from the charity, Mr Higgins, 65, was called in to be questioned at his local police station in Whitehaven, Cumbria. He has now been told that he could be charged with the theft of the old fence.
As Tim Worstall is wont to say, 'Can we hang the bastards now?'..

And do I mean the useless fakecharity or the police who think this is a valuable use of their time? Hmmm. Both.

And, irony of irony:
he finally decided to take matters into his own hands after his dog Nell became impaled on one of its rusty spikes.
He said: ‘Nell didn’t see the spike, which had become buried by the overgrown vegetation, but it punctured her skull and it is only thanks to the skill of a clever vet that she survived.
‘But it wasn’t only the fence that Sustrans had neglected and allowed to fall into disrepair – the footpath was a jungle of dangerous brambles that snagged horse riders, walkers and cyclists.’
Remind me again, what was this quango come fakecharity originally set up for..?


Anonymous said...

Set up to pay a few people a fat salary and a good pension I bet, the same as most charities.

microdave said...

"Sustrans spokesman Eleanor Roaf said: ‘Health and safety is really important to us and we ask that people talk to us before doing anything on our land to avoid any risk to the public"

But NOT their pets, presumably:

"His dog Nell became impaled on one of its rusty spikes"

Would things have turned out any different if Mr Higgins was the one impaled on the rusty spike?

Self serving, jumped up, useless tossers doesn't even begin to describe Sustrans...

Anonymous said...

So most charities are set up to pay fat salaries and pensions? I think you're confusing charities with the civil service who are overpaid, take retirement 10 years earlier than everyone else on a higher pension subsidised by the remaining tax payers who are left working the extra 10yrs.

Anyway what Mr Higgins did was illegal, he should know the law ex-copper, a simple meeting with someone from sustrans would have got the ball rolling about his fence issue.... and he must have known about its condition for some time as the fence is from the railway era. It seems pretty obvious to me to contact the landowner and discuss any grievance and resolve it accordingly.

JuliaM said...

"...the same as most charities."

Certainly the bigger ones.

"Would things have turned out any different if Mr Higgins was the one impaled on the rusty spike?"

It would be interesting to see him sue them into the ground, wouldn't it?

"... a simple meeting with someone from sustrans would have got the ball rolling about his fence issue."

He did meet with them. Read the story.

Anonymous said...

Hi JuliaM

I did read the story, its been reported through various channels textually and on television. I knew he'd spoken to volunteers as in quote below:-

"I had spoken to some Sustrans volunteers about what I planned to do and assumed I had permission."

This was his quote in the press, that isn't a meeting with Sustrans. Simply a statement of intent with their volunteers, obviously a communication breakdown if he'd asked them to forward on his intent. But it's not a formal meeting with the landowner and written permission to proceed thats why I said suggested he contact Sustrans directly ( a bona fide staff member rather than a chat on the path with volunteers ). I volunteer but I'm certainly not in a position to grant permission for work at that level without referring the issue back through the appropriate channels.

I'm sure there's many aspects of this story we do not know... but the media likes to sensationalise when there are no big events coming into the newsroom. As for Look North's coverage it was rather biased in its reporting. On the brighter side I think its good that we have access to safer walking/cycling routes surrounded by widlife habitat, I'm a road cyclist myself but still enjoy simply getting away from the hubub/impatience of the UK's drivers. One thing I can say is that roads are much busier than 10yrs ago even in my rural'ish neck of the woods. I encounter many considerate drivers who I always acknowledge with a wave and thankyou,but sadly the inconsiderate can spoil the day or worse ruin a life. Yet the seconds saved are most often spent slumped in front of the television.