AskBoA: Railings on Conigre Hill

What do you think of the scaffolding poles used to line Conigre Hill, probably the best dry stone wall in BOA. Could they be more hideous. They are spaced so close together, there are more than 80 vertical posts for the distance covered. Compared to the ones in Rosemary Steps, which are 2.5m apart and one horizontal bar,.These are 1.5m apart and two  horizontal bars and  in a preservation area, with no planning permission.  Such an eye sore. What do you think?


    • They make it a lot safer for walking down that hill particularly in slippery conditions. The metal colour will weather down in due course.

      • And you think it’s acceptable, in a conservation area, to put up cheap unacceptable rails without planning permission! Where else would you be allowed to do that on BOA,?

    • Personally I think they will make walking down that hill when its wet and leaves are on the ground much safer.

      • Really?, I’ve lived up there for several decades, and never heard, or seen anyone slipping or falling, it would be less treacherous if it were simply cleared of leaves each winter, as it was before the cuts. Now it’s not cleared, download to volunteers again. My point is, we have to get planning permission, why can WC push it through without consultation.? One bar wd have even adequate, the holes that have been dug have been left unfilled, filling up with water. Just a shoddy bit of workmanship.

    • Newtown – Middle Rank steps are next for the treatment.

    • Waste of limited public funding! How many folk have actually ‘faltered’ on the Great Conigre Traverse over the years? Let alone the intrusive quasi-industrial sculpture ‘botch-job’ ……… “‘elf n’ safety” gone mad – why not just install a funicular ?!
      Sort out the real problem – vehicular traffic in BoA!

      In my view – just unnecessary –

      • couldnt agree more Annette- have you had any response or seen the paperwork?

      • also the holes the uprights (all 84 ) of them havent been filled in, gaping great cavities to hold even more water!

    • You asked what I think. I think safety trumps aesthetics and I think there are probably far bigger issues in the world to feel indignant about.

      • just a waste of local money, unsightly at the very least.

      • it’s not an either/or choice, is it?

    • I understand that these horrible and pointless railings are a Town Council project – Wiltshire Council are not entirely to blame although I presume the (overworked) Conservation Officer should have been consulted and given approval. I am requesting sight of all the paper-work and the costing. Surely it is projects such as this that should be allocated to local crafts persons who could probably do an aesthetically suitable job at a lower cost and that would help to advertise their skills. As a side but relevant issue fallen leaves should of course be swept up.

      • couldnt agree more Annette- have you had any response or seen the paperwork?

    • I’m working on it, but in the meantime perhaps one of our worthy town councillors would respond by answering these questions:
      1.Exactly how many people complained or raised the need for safety railings in writing – not just a passing grumble?
      2.What safety assessment was done, by whom and where is it available to read?
      3.Was the job advertised anywhere – either design or manufacture?
      4.Who drew up the specification – or indeed the spec. for the next potential horror?
      5.I don’t recall any mention of this impending project in any news sheet. If it was, which publication was it in?
      6.We have endless facilities for showing projects like this to the public, why was this not done?
      7.What was the actual cost to the Town purse?
      8.Was there a contribution from any other funding source?

      I look forward to seeing these questions answered on this page. And thank you Anna and Country Girl for caring that “Beautiful Bradford” (branding!) lives up to its name. Branding, what a silly exercise that was, the cost alone would have paid for quality railings if really needed and of benefit to all downhill walkers, not just those with functioning left hands and arms.

    • These railings are truly poorly thought out. Beyond the fact that they are not suited for the locale, what happens if the wall ever needs repair work? If these railings are truly needed, a better design could have been implemented. These types of rails would be totally unsuitable for the walkway from Newtown to Middle Rank. The walkway is narrow and sits in between listed homes. The current view is lovely and photographed frequently by tourists. Handrails of this nature will totally ruin the nature of the walkway and the curb appeal of the homes! A letter is being sent to both Town and County Council. How this can take place without any consultation or planning permission is outrageous.

    • These questions were put to the Town Council meeting last Tuesday evening.

    • Indeed. The main point is they are bloody ugly and totally not appropriate for the area. As someone else pointed out you could have easily got a quote from a local craftsman to put in a nice bit of wrought iron railing and had it painted black probably for the same price and it would have been invisible. It’s all very well saying safety trumps aesthetics but when safety hasn’t been an issue in the past then no I don’t think it does. And if it comes down to a cost issue then the local population needs an opportunity to raise extra funds to put in a quality solution not this vile hideous in your face monstrosity.

      I thank you

    • Sadly this is exactly what we have come to accept from our elected Councillors. They seem to have no feel at all for the special nature of our town. I doubt whether any of them can appreciate at all why we feel the handrails are so objectionable. I do wonder whether Bradford on Avon now has a Conservation Officer it’s certainly not a voice that we ever hear. What is particularly galling is that if any one of us living within the conservation area put railings like this in front of our houses the mindless bureaucrats in the Planning Office would be round with their note books within hours.

      How about a comment please from one of our elected Councillors??

      • Hear hear, absolutely outrageous lack of forethought, and common sense. Not a lot of answers from Councillors, but hopefully we’ve stalled the proceedings. The least they cd do is remove them, quite easy to unbolt! Sell them off or reuse for another hideous purpose, and forget it! They haven’t even finished these off, the holes the 80 uprights have been placed in haven’t been filled in, so water will collect and freeze,. Add that to unswept Conigre Hill this year will just about ruin such a lovely path. In all the 40 yrs I’ve lived up here – every year the hill has been swept once ‘ for safety’ but this year, NO just blown the leaves into the wall, so now a pile of earth has settled ready for weeds to take hold in a few months. This will look appalling by Summer,. Spending £17k came easier did it!

    • When Conigre is frozen into an icy sheet I hope railings will still be there and not removed.
      Even sheets of wet leaves can make a dangerous ski slope!
      So it’s good to have something sturdy to hang on to, whatever the number of uprights.

    • having the central rail has improved the look and discourages all the school kids and adults climbing them, and jumping into adjacent garden below, the owners, I might add, were never consulted. Still an unwarranted eyesore. I have personally lived there for 20years and never known a single incident! and used it several times a day.

Leave us a comment