Short cut campaigners win
MOTORISTS battling to use an ancient short-cut to and from Felixstowe port have won the right to use it – but may never be able to drive the route.A public inquiry inspector has decided Peewit Hill should be open to all traffic, including cars and motorbikes, because drivers proved they had used it for years.
By Richard Cornwell
MOTORISTS battling to use an ancient short-cut to and from Felixstowe port have won the right to use it – but may never be able to drive the route.
A public inquiry inspector has decided Peewit Hill should be open to all traffic, including cars and motorbikes, because drivers proved they had used it for years.
But because Grange Road at the top of the hill has already been officially "stopped up" and bollards put in place, it will effectively mean cars cannot use the hill as they will have no way of getting down it or leaving it if they drive up.
Town clerk Susan Robinson said the barriers would not be removed and so it was likely that only motorcycles would use it.
However, the status of the hill was still unclear as the inquiry inspector proposed to modify the footpath map and people could object to the modification.
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Once its status was finally clear, the town council could then look at other ways of preventing traffic such as pursuing a stopping up order for the hill so that barriers could also be put at the bottom, near McDonalds.
Strenuous efforts have been made in recent years to stop vehicles going up and down Peewit Hill because of the damage to the ancient lane and the noise and disturbance caused to residents at the top.
The stopping up of Grange Road and placement of the bollards stopped four-wheel drive vehicles from revving their engines in low gear to climb the hill.
After six years of research, council officials agreed walkers could use the path up Peewit Hill, even though pedestrians had been doing so for 200 years.
But the decision to make the footpath – used daily by dozens of dockers to get between Dock Gate One and Grange Road – official meant a public inquiry had to be called.
The inquiry opened the door for a number of people who had used the route in cars and on motorcycles in the past to claim a right of way.
The rugged path on Peewit Hill has been used by thousands of people over the centuries but no one has ever really been sure who owned it or if they had the right to walk it.
County officials found the route first marked on a map of 1783 but it did not appear consistently on all maps after that date.
Felixstowe Town Council owns a large part of the hill. It is co-ordinating a project to turn it into a nature reserve with full public access but cannot take the scheme further until the right of way issue is resolved.