Campaigners' fear over river walk

CAMPAIGNERS calling for the removal of fences which they claim are spoiling a popular country and riverside walk today said they fear the path will be impassable in winter.

CAMPAIGNERS calling for the removal of fences which they claim are spoiling a popular country and riverside walk today said they fear the path will be impassable in winter.

They claim they will not give up their fight to have the fencing taken down at Levington Creek - because they do not believe it was necessary.

A special information evening was held to allow villagers to voice their opinions, put questions in readiness for a public meeting next month, and to see documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Keep Levington Beautiful Campaign was launched after posts and steel wire were placed around meadows and pathways on the Ipswich side of Levington Creek on the banks of the River Orwell to “fence in” walkers.

Conservationists said the work was carried out to protect flocks of roosting birds from dogs not on leads.

But campaigner June Langford said: “It was clear from the documents we received, that staff at Suffolk County Council expressed concerns on three major issues - the original need for the project, the reduced width of the footpath and the use of public funds to erect fencing.”

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She said the enclosed unsightly and narrowed path is now in danger of encroachment from the cliff-top brush, which will need cutting.

The width of the path varies and is less than a metre at one point, and campaigners believe the foot of the river wall steps will become muddy and impassable in winter.

Resident Chris Harris, one of 45 people who attended the information event, said: “I have not found one villager, many of whom have been in the area for decades, who has any recollection of seeing the many thousands of birds apparently using the meadow.

“Many people walk the footpath daily, and totally refute the findings in the report.

“If substantive evidence is not forthcoming one has to question what was behind the report, who raised the issue in the first place and what were their reasons for so doing?”

The Suffolk Coast and Heaths Unit said the fencing was needed because walkers and dogs were leaving the footpath and taking a short-cut across the meadow, which provides night time roosting for various species including skylarks, owls and birds of prey.

What do you feel about the fences? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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