On behalf of Buxton Civic Association (BCA), I would like to respond to councillor Tony Kemp’s letter about efforts to resolve the issue of the high footpath and the adjacent woodland printed in the Advertiser, October 15 - Light at the end of the Footpath. He quotes Derbyshire County Council as deciding that, before they sold it to a buyer who was unable or unwilling to maintain it, it ‘had no specific purpose.’Far from having ‘no specific purpose’, BCA believes that the wood and the footpath are of major landscape importance to Buxton. They potentially provide a magnificent setting for one of the main entrances to the town. Derbyshire County Council can’t just wash their hands of the problem and assume some other voluntary body will take it over. BCA is anxious to play its part in securing a long term future for the wood. We already own and manage ten woods with a total area of some 200 acres which make a huge contribution to the beauty of Buxton as well as providing opportunities for leisure activities. In addition, we operate Pooles Cavern which attracts some 50,000 visitors a year making a valuable contribution to the local economy. But it would be irresponsible for BCA as a charity to seriously consider taking on the management or ownership of this wood if the ongoing costs could potentially threaten the financial viability of the association. For example, figures of up to £1 million have been quoted for putting the wall into a safe condition. Therefore before seriously considering accepting responsibility for the wood, we would as a minimum requirement require a professional survey to be carried out and the necessary repairs completed to put the wall into a condition such that it would require no major work on it for the foreseeable future. We would also require any necessary work to be done to render the trees safe, again following a professional survey. We hope that Tony Kemp’s efforts will result in the relevant surveys being completed so that BCA is able to enter into meaningful discussions with him and other interested bodies to secure a satisfactory conclusion.
Chairman, Buxton Civic Association