Bridleway bid for town park

Pedestrians and cyclists using a shortcut to the town centre may soon find themselves having to make way for horses.

IPSWICH: Pedestrians and cyclists using a shortcut to the town centre may soon find themselves having to make way for horses.

Government civil servants are being asked to decide whether the path alongside the western edge of Christchurch Park should be turned into an official bridleway.

It has been known as The Bridleway for generations of park users - but has not been officially recorded as such.

If the go-ahead is given, the partially sunken route between Fonnereau Road and Henley Road will become a legally protected right of way not just for pedestrians and cyclists but also for horse riders and horse drawn vehicles.

Following two objections to the plan, Suffolk County Council - which is responsible for designating bridleways - will have to pass it to government level for approval because it does not have the legal power to create a new route if has been opposed.

However, if the go-ahead is given, the new bridleway will not affect the private rights of some residents of Fonnereau Road and Henley Road to drive on a section of the route to reach the rear entrances of their properties.

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In a report to be considered by the county council next month, environment and transport director Lucy Robinson says: “The justification for creating the bridleway is that it would add to the enjoyment of the general public and local residents.

“The route would provide an important pedestrian and cycling link to the town centre and meet current objectives including encouraging sustainable transport.

“If confirmed, the order will have the effect of adding a bridleway to the Definitive Map in perpetuity, offering more legal protection to the route. It is a council priority to continue to add known public rights of way to the Ipswich Definitive Map.”

County councillors are being recommended to refer the order creating the proposed bridleway to the government's planning inspectorate in Bristol, asking it to make a decision.

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