A TOWN centre footpath has been closed on safety grounds, two weeks after the issue was first raised in the Buxton Advertiser.
And council taxpayers look likely to have to face a huge bill to make safe dangerous trees and a collapsed wall even though the land is now privately owned.
Derbyshire County Council closed the footpath on the A6 Bakewell Road in Buxton on Friday because of safety concerns caused by overhanging trees.
And the trees, many of which are diseased or dead, have also caused parts of the wall bordering the footpath to collapse, leading to serious safety fears.
A Derbyshire County Council spokesman said: “The path is bordered by land which is privately owned. There is a steep slope and a number of dead elm trees are overhanging or close to the border wall which has also collapsed in a couple of places.
“We’ve been encouraging the landowner to take action since the summer. The situation has now got to the stage where we have no alternative but to demand the removal of the trees.”
The county council can use section 154 of the Highways Act to demand that the landowner removes the trees within 14 days. However, if they fail to comply with the order, Derbyshire County Council would then have to undertake the work themselves and try and recoup the costs from the landowner. The notice has not yet been served so the footpath will be closed for the foreseeable future while this process is carried out.
Derbyshire County Councillor Robin Baldry, who represents the Buxton West ward, said: “I am pleased that action has been taken on that site so quickly and efficiently because the safety of the public has to be the number one priority.
“I spoke to council officers about my concerns and after consultations, they decided to close the footpath. I fully support their decision and I am pleased it has been taken to safeguard the general public.”
The authority have also said that the work may mean the A6 road has to be closed but there is no indication yet as to when the work will start, or how long it will take.
Cllr Baldry said that although this could not be avoided, it would cause traffic chaos. “If the A6 is closed this will create even more problems in Buxton with all the other roadworks that are currently being undertaken,” he added.
It is not yet known how much this work will cost.