Uxbridge's 'unsafe, deeply intimidating' Mad Max route is 'gift' to criminals

A pedestrian route from Uxbridge to Denham is 'unsafe' and resembles a scene from post-apocalyptic films Mad Max and Bladerunner, council chiefs have been warned.

The authorities have also been alerted to the potential danger of a blaze on the River Frays path under the A40 flyover. The problems have been highlighted by concerned Uxbridge resident Anthony Longden, who said the route is 'deeply intimidating'.

Mr Longden, who was The Uxbridge Gazette's Editor in Chief from 1994 to 2002, was shocked at the state the U56 footpath, pictured below, which he has known for over 40 years.

He is urging action from the highway authorities, after walking from the River Frays/Alderglade point, under the A40 and through to the white bridge on the Grand Union Canal.

He has written to various councils and organisations responsible for the area, in the hope that problems will be tackled.

He told Hillingdon is Here: “As I walked through this stretch – which looks more like a scene from Mad Max or Bladerunner – I could see several figures wandering around in the shadows.

“Unfenced, and with its proximity to the A40 lay-by and the canal, this place is a gift to people with all manner of ill intent and they will be drawn to the spot.”

u56 tunnel worst 

u56 tunnel

u56 bridge

Mr Longden said he was particularly concerned about the area immediately beneath and around the A40 flyover.

He said: “It is astonishing that this zone is not fenced off, and there is clear evidence of fires having been lit beneath this vitally important major road.

“I am minded of the incident a few years ago when the London end of the M1 had to be closed for a long period following a fire underneath it, and would not want to see the same thing happening here.”

He said: “I found using this path a deeply unpleasant and intimidating experience – it doesn't feel safe, is in a disgusting and shameful state, and unless it improves I would never recommend anyone to use it.

“There was graffiti everywhere. Enormous mounds of rubbish - beer cans, plastic bags, probably drug paraphernalia - at every turn, stretching all the way through to the Grand Union Canal.”

u56 fences

u56 rubbish

u56 sign

He added: “My only desire was a pleasant Sunday walk: what I got was a depressing, distinctly urban experience of the kind I wouldn’t have dreamed of finding on my doorstep.”

Walkers sometimes use the path as a cut through to the beauty spots of Denham country park and the lock.

Mr Longden believes the fact the path is near the Hillingdon and South Bucks boundary, running through plots of land in different ownership, is a key reason that it has slipped into this state, and said there also appears to be a lack of funding.

His contact with various authorities has yielded “positive feedback” from Hillingdon Council and the Colne Valley Park, but nothing from Denham Parish Council, South Bucks District Council and Bucks County Council.

Transport for Buckinghamshire spokesman Dan Elworthy said any issues with litter or graffiti on this or any other footpath would be dealt with by district council or environmental health.

But Kate Murray, spokesman for South Bucks District Council, said it doesn’t deal with graffiti on private property and the footpath is a Hillingdon Public Right of Way, therefore a matter for Hillingdon Council. Hillingdon Council is yet to respond to Hillingdon is Here's questions.

Transport for Buckinghamshire and SBDC said that the A40 underpass/flyover would be Highways England's responsibility. Highways England was contacted but is yet to respond.

Stewart Pomeroy, Colne Valley Park CIC Managing Agent, at Groundwork South, a not for profit organisation, was unavailable for comment.

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