Housing estate 'service margin' mocked as being 'pointlessly' narrow path
PUBLISHED: 14:12 30 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:12 30 March 2019
When is a path not a path?
That was the question being posed this weekend by social media users – bemused by the appearance of what some considered a ‘pointlessly’ narrow footpath on a Suffolk housing development.
Discussion ensued on Facebook after photographs were posted to the Felixstowe News page on Thursday.
The tracks have been positioned on either side of a road in the Walton Gate development, built by Barratt Homes at the edge of Trimley St Mary.
Developers said the strips were not designed as walkways, but to house utility services along their lengths.
However, some Facebook users ridiculed the design and asked whether the tracks would be more suited for sobriety tests or “enforced tightrope walking training”.
The dispute was dubbed #PathGate online, where local resident Ken Knights asked: “When is a path not a path?”
The post originator said locals were angered that the path was inaccessible for wheelchair users and pushchairs, prompting others to speculate on the reasoning behind the design.
One posted: “Ridiculous! Really pedestrian friendly – maybe it’s enforced tightrope walking training!?”
Another asked: “So, is this one of those thingies police make you walk along (and not fall off) in order to check whether you’re drunk?!”
The kerbed path, or ‘service margin’, measures little more than a foot in width in places.
Replies to the original Facebook post included: “Looks like a paved border to me”; “What a waste of money”; “Narrow, to say the least” and “Looks like a kerb to me”.
Barratt Homes insisted the design complied with supplementary planning guidance on shared surface roads, set out by Suffolk County Council and used by all local authorities in the county.
The house building firm said most of the roads on the 190-property Walton Gate development did have footpaths for pedestrian use.
A spokesman for the company said: “Service margins are installed for shared surface roads, where footpaths are not required in line with the Suffolk Design Guide for Residential Areas.”
They added: “The majority of roads on site do incorporate footpaths.”