The long-running saga of Buxton’s ‘High Footpath’ looks like it may have a new development as the landowner has now indicated he wants to sell the land overlooking it.
The town centre footpath, next to the A6 Bakewell Road skirting the town centre, was closed in 2011 after safety concerns about overhanging trees causing parts of the walls bordering the footpath to collapse.
The wrangling over repairs between the landowner and the council has taken years and cost taxpayers thousands of pounds.
A spokesperson for Derbyshire County Council said: “We were not aware that the land is for sale, but have no plans to buy it.
“High footpath will remain closed until the owner of the wall has carried out repairs necessary to ensure the safety of people using the path.
“We’ve made every effort to persuade the current landowner to repair the wall without success.
“Our legal fees so far on this case are around £8,400.”
The sale has been announced by Derby auctioneers, Graham Penny Auctions, and will take place at the Ipro Stadium in Derby on Thursday October 22, at 11.30am.
Buxton’s elected officials expressed their hope that the news might lead to a break in the impasse that has surrounded the area for so many years.
Derbyshire county councillor Tony Kemp said: “If true then the sale might give the opportunity for some progress to be made.
“One would hope that any new owner would take their responsibilities more seriously than the current one has and actually look after the land.
“Whether anybody would want to buy it is the next question.”
And Caitlin Bisknell, Derbyshire county councillor for Buxton North and East, said: “I am disappointed and surprised that the current owners have apparently put the land up for sale by auction without first approaching local people.
“I hope that any prospective buyers take time to look into the history and the issues surrounding the site - not least the need to stabilise the site and the costs involved in making the site safe.”
Derbyshire County Council sold the land to the private owner for £10,000 in 2008 and the authority has already spent £8,400 in legal fees alone to try and get the landowner to take remedial action.
However, all attempts to make the landowner pay have so far failed and the cost of the work has been borne by council tax payers, putting the final bill much higher.