I HAVE been following with interest the debate through the letters pages and other editorial in the Westmorland Gazette regarding the proposed “improvements” to a shared path at the bottom end of the A6 on the northern outskirts of Kendal.

I was particularly intrigued by a sentence in county councillor Peter Thornton’s response: “I believe we should be putting in place measures to enable every child to be able to walk or cycle safely to school.” (Letters, September 19, 'Pavement needs upgrade'.)

Ever since the Kiln Croft area of Skelsmergh was developed in 2002 its residents have been campaigning for just such a provision, i.e. a path so children can walk or cycle safely to school. Not, I might add, to have an “improved” path but simply to provide one where one currently does not exist.

Approximately six years ago the county council did promise us a £21,000 grant towards the cost of providing such a path. The residents thought this was great news and it even resulted in an article and photo in the Wezzy Gezzy showing the residents' pleasure at such a proposal.

What was not evident in that article was that the £21,000 grant was conditional upon the residents finding funding themselves for the remainder of the actual costs of the path in excess of £60,000. Needless to say the residents had no means of finding that sort of money so now, after 17 years of campaigning, we still have no path.

You can imagine how the residents of Skelsmergh now feel when we read that Cumbria County Council is willing to stump up in excess of £400,000 to improve an existing path which, according to local residents, is “Unwanted, unsafe and unnecessary” (Letters, September 19), while at the same time is unwilling to provide £60,000 for a path where one does not currently exist, forcing children to have to walk or cycle along a 300 metre stretch of the busy A6 to get to school.

I cannot write in a public newspaper what I truly think of the council’s decision. What I will say is that Cllr Thornton’s statement about providing measures for walking or cycling safely to school rings a little hollow in my ears and, I believe, the majority of the residents of Skelsmergh's.

Graham White