OAPs feel stranded without footpath

GIVE us our footpath!That was the demand today from a group of elderly residents trying to make The Great Escape from their sheltered housing development in a Suffolk village.

Simon Tomlinson

GIVE us our footpath!

That was the demand today from a group of elderly residents trying to make The Great Escape from their sheltered housing development in a Suffolk village.

They say they feel like prisoners and have been left stranded after a promise to create a safe route into Stutton never materialised.


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Campaigners are now calling on all parties involved to nail down a solution so the residents can start to enjoy the “necessities of life” without fear.

According to campaigners, Oak House was built in 2004 on the proviso that a footpath would be created to bypass Bentley Lane.

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But they claim the Oak House partnership between owners Housing 21, Babergh District Council and Suffolk County Council have reneged on their promise.

Christina Wilkins, who lives at Oak House, said residents were being deprived of “stimulation and motivation” because they were stranded on the premises.

She said: “We would really benefit from a good stroll in the fresh air but we haven't got that facility.”

The planning application for Oak House originally earmarked an existing footpath but this was challenged by landowners who said it ran through their property and after two public enquiries the route was effectively closed.

Stutton Parish Council says another option would be to link the footpath further down Bentley Lane and build a pavement along the road to make it safer.

Chris Leach, chairman of the parish council, said: “We want to get people around the table. It would appear that all parties involved are unwilling to work together. It is an accident waiting to happen.”

Tayo Bilewu, director of new business and development at Housing 21, said: “The gate to link Oak House to the pathway is already in place but until the registration of the pathway is proven, we are unable to undertake further work on linking the two together.”

A spokesman for Babergh District Council said: “Babergh is fully supportive of the formation of a link to the village and will be assisting Suffolk County Council in attempting to find an alternative route.”

A spokeswoman from Suffolk County Council said they were aware of the situation and were looking into it.

Are you campaigning for change? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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