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Footpath 73 in Deganwy is still closed as the fight with Network Rail reaches its tenth year


I don’t know if anyone has been following the long-running saga of the footpath 73 rail crossing at the junction of Warren Drive and Glan y Mor Road in Deganwy. For many years this crossing enabled access to the coastal path and served the Marl & Deganwy community. It had been in place since the railway was first constructed in the 1850s and constituted a ‘public right of way’. Crossing the railway required climbing a stile, abiding by a “stop-look-listen” sign and exiting via another stile.

However, in 2011, Network Rail (NR) unilaterally decided to eliminate this crossing by removing the stiles to fence off access. Some commentators refer to the footpath as being ‘stolen’ by NR.

Nothing serious happened to change the “no-access” status quo until Jan 2014 when an application was made to have the path declared and registered as a public right of way. This was opposed and triggered a series of battles between NR and multiple local/national authorities that would continue to this day. These battles reached the high (and appeal) courts in London and the Welsh Senedd as part of NR’s challenge to extinguish mandates ordained by Conwy County legislators.

NR have cited safety as their main concern, but the solution was always a staired walkway over the track. This was made clear to NR by Janet Finch-Saunders after NR were dismissed by the Welsh ministers on May 22. This is the last recorded event in this ‘NR versus the People’ saga. It is now 18 months since NR failed their Senedd bid and yet the crossing remains closed.

Alarmingly, it was purported by some local representatives that NR resorted to making veiled threats at certain nodes in the process. These included closing the coastal path completely (because they own the land) and pressing for ‘damages’ against individuals opposing them.

This epic drama has been covered in articles published by the local press (Daily Post and Pioneer) and even the BBC. These can be easily accessed online by typing in Footpath 73 rail crossing Conwy. The articles listed include a nice timeline summary of key events in tabular form provided by ‘Ramblers North Wales’.

It has to be said that our local and national representatives served us well in this epic drama, despite the fact that we still don’t have access. It’s unfortunate however that our Parliament and Senedd members have been so ineffective with the more serious issues affecting our lives.

The NR Stalinesque tactics thus continue and reflect the tantrums of a spoilt child getting its own way. The arrogance displayed by NR is astounding, yet not surprising because of the parallels we can draw with the antics of many other ‘bad actor’ leaders adversely impacting our lives.

We’re constantly having our knuckles wrapped because our leaders insist we’re not doing enough to save the planet. The fact that the UK’s carbon impact on the world is less than 1% matters not.  We must purchase electric cars; suffer damage to our petrol engines with inferior E10 fuel: conform to ULEZ, install heat pump systems and compulsory smart meters, dispose of our log burners and give up meat for insects. Despite widespread protestations, we are endlessly browbeaten into acceptance, with our resolve ‘weakened’ at every defeat.

No one was spared the punishments inflicted upon us by our leaders during Covid. More and more evidence is unfolding that indicates it was all based on false information, much of which was known at the outset. With every revelation, our leaders have been in denial and sidestepping any form of accountability. Who can forget Andrew Bridgen being attacked in (a sometimes empty) Parliament for raising valid issues and calling for meaningful debates/enquiries into vaccine safety and excess deaths? Andrew was ridiculed by both benches and eventually ousted from the Conservative party for doing what?……..acting in the best interest of his constituents and the public in general! Our physical (and mental) health from compulsory masking, lock-downs, isolation and vaccination was/is far worse than anything the virus could have inflicted.  Yet vaccination is still being ‘pushed’ and they tell us the next pandemic is only a matter of time. Of course, our leaders have a solution for this, which is to hand over the controls, along with our sovereignty, to the (grossly incompetent) World Health Organisation without the requirement of a referendum. What could go wrong?

Our leaders continue the delaying tactics and avoiding the searching questions that will eventually lead to opening the ‘Pandora’s Box’ that led us to become a Police state for so long.

There are many other examples of tyranny (because this is what it amounts to), such as the Banking sector’s abuse of power (being exposed by Nigel Farage), 15-minute cities, ‘encouraged’ illegal migration and being led into armed conflicts without a mandate.

Historian Neil Oliver stated in one of his monologues that “Dreadful things are happening because we have dreadful leaders”. The only question is what can we do to take ourselves off the path of self-destruction?