Footpath fight nears conclusion
A FOUR-YEAR fight to protect a Portishead footpath could be nearing an end.
For more than 50 years, fields from Merlin Park across Portishead Downs, leading to Valley Road and Weston Big Wood have been used by walkers and runners.
The footpaths were used unchallenged until an area of the land was sold off and, in 2008, the two new landowners, one of which is the police authority, fenced off their land preventing access.
As a result a group of residents launched a battle to safeguard the future of the footpaths.
After an outcry from walkers, the police authority installed two kissing gates to allow access, but the action group, intent on keeping the routes accessible for generations to come, made a formal application to have them registered as public footpaths on the definitive map.
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Campaigner Phil Hedley said: “Despite our best efforts we have still not yet managed to secure a public right of way status for the pathways and the Planning Inspectorate has called for a public inquiry which will take place in Portishead later this month.”
The enquiry will be held on November 20 at The Royal Inn in Pier Road at 10am. The public can attend the inquiry and speak, or alternatively a statement can be sent to Elaine.Bowman@n-somerset.gov.uk or by post to North Somerset Council, Town Hall, Walliscote Grove Road, Weston, BS23 1UJ.
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Mr Hedley added: “We hope the people of Portishead will speak out to help us protect footpaths like this which have been in use for a long time. We especially need to hear from people who have used the top route of the path leading from Merlin Park field to Valley Road for over 20 years because that is what we need for this to be approved.”