Walkway covered in graffiti days after opening
A new pedestrian footway has been plastered with graffiti just days after it reopened.
The old bridge walkway at Stones Road in Epsom was condemned as unsafe two years ago and plans were made to knock it down and open a subway connecting Stones Road with Blenheim Road.
It was hoped the new walk way would provide a safer and quicker route for children walking to school.
After long delays over a two-year period, work to reopen the footpath was finally completed by Surrey County Council on February 24, but within days graffiti was daubed all over the tunnel walls.
Liberal Democrat Councillor, Julie Morris, said: "I think it’s a hazard of any space like that.
"The borough has a good system for removing graffiti. It’s been reported and will be dealt with and we will keep on dealing with it.
"It is sad because one of the main reasons was for kids to use the road as a way to school so they haven’t been encouraged to look after their surroundings.
"But it’s just one group of kids."
Now the tunnel is open, work has begun to regenerate the surrounding area with a management plan in place with Epsom and Ewell Council, Surrey County Council and the Lower Mole Countryside Project (LMCP) to turn adjacent land into an allotment site.
Volunteers from the LMPC will also be building a new habitat for great crested newts which live on the site.
Helen Cocker, acting project manager at the Lower Mole project said: "There’s quite a healthy population of great crested newts there but they only have one pond so if there was any pollution incidents or anything that would be the end of them.
"So we are going to dig out a second pond and build a newt hibernacula (a place where newts can hibernate over the winter). We are also planning to plant a hedge to screen off the travellers site.
"When we finish our work Epsom and Ewell Council will be installing a fence to separate the area from the future allotment site.
"The main thing is, it will make the whole are look cared for and not neglected."
A spokesperson for Epsom and Ewell Council said: "In July 2010 the council agreed to create an additional pond on part of the former allotment site and to return the rest of the site to allotment use.
"The pond, together with associated works such as improvements to fences and panting of hedges, will be carried out over the next few months and should be completed by May.
"The remainder of the site will then be returned to allotment use by creating approximately 20 new plots.
"The site will be laid out during the summer and we will be marketing the new plots in the autumn ready for the 2013 planting season.
"Unfortunately, graffiti is a fact of modern life. The Council has a team who remove it.
"We will be dealing with the graffiti in the subway as soon as possible."