Footpath to become official

A RIVERSIDE walk blocked by the owners of a barge is set to become an official footpath after nearly 200 people complained about it being shut.But walkers will have to wait just a few more days before they have a legal right of way – in case of last-minute objections, which could force a public inquiry.

A RIVERSIDE walk blocked by the owners of a barge is set to become an official footpath after nearly 200 people complained about it being shut.

But walkers will have to wait just a few more days before they have a legal right of way – in case of last-minute objections, which could force a public inquiry.

The path along the river wall of the Deben at Melton had been well-used for a decade but was never made an official right of way after a bureaucratic bungle.

A year ago Elizabeth Berry and Terry Langridge, who live on a barge with their daughter, 13, and son, nine, at Wilford Bridge, closed off the path with metal fencing and tree and shrub branches because it runs through land they lease.


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The family were concerned at security and trespass on their property.

But now the county council's rights of way sub-committee has decided that the route should become official and be added to the Suffolk footpaths map.

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The walk was created when the flood defences were built by the National Rivers Authority. The intention had been to make it a right of way but it was never done.

The public used the route until its obstruction in 2002 by the land leaseholders. Landowners Suffolk Coastal council promoted the route as a walk but felt it was inappropriate to formally dedicate it without the consent of the leaseholders.

The previous leaseholders knew of the route since its construction, and made no challenge to public use.

The sub-committee, which received nearly 200 letters asking for the walk to be re-opened, decided the route had been very heavily used without challenge for a decade and people should be able to use it again. The district council's clear intention had been that it should be used.

Neither Ms Berry and or Mr Langridge were available for comment today.

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