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Tuesday, June 18, 2013
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Path should be given trial
Friday, 12 April 2013
Bob Stephens, of Hind Street, Bovey Tracey, writes:
Your report of the reaction to the closure of the path between Newton Abbot and Kingsteignton on race days comes as no surprise.
I followed with interest the planning and construction stages of the route and was aware of this restriction. I am grateful to the racecourse for agreeing to the construction of the path and do not condone the actions of those who climbed gates to get through.
However, this does not mean that I agree with this closure. Health and Safety is given as the reason for this. This is a spurious and a lazy misuse of the legislation, to avoid seeking alternatives. The HSE spends quite a lot of time debunking such misuses that often appear in the tabloid press as examples of ‘elf and safety gone mad’.
Such decisions should be based on evidence and not supposition. I have never seen any that the presence of walkers and cyclists would disrupt race days. Page 7 of your paper shows a giant screen in use, apparently without disturbing the horses. Page 84 shows spectators closer to the horses than anybody on the path would be. Services on the adjacent railway are not suspended on race days and I have never heard of any problems arising from the noisy passing of trains.
It seems very unlikely that the presence of walkers and cyclists would cause any problems. Perhaps the path should remain open on race days on a trial basis to provide actual evidence.
I note that many saplings have been planted between the path and race course.
Will the path remain open on race days when they have grown sufficiently to provide a good screen?
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