Anger over pathway work

A Clare resident has complained that improvement work to an access path has damaged local wildlife.

Betty Osborne, from Clarence Road, said designer Henri Rossi’s digging and resurfacing of Sheepgate Lane, which runs for 850 metres from Bridewell Street up to the former water works site owned by Mr Rossi, had not been advertised to residents.

“It has decimated the area – the wildlife is gone forever,” she said. “Nobody heard anything about this until we heard diggers coming in.”

Mrs Osborne, who has lived next to the lane for seven years, said children and dog walkers use it regularly.

“Nobody owns it, so why has he been able to do this?” she said.

“He has doubled the width of the path. Two years ago, he put a small track down to take tyres and that was fine.”

Mrs Osborne added that she was concerned the work would lead to illegal use of the site in the future.

Mr Rossi, 42, who lives in Glemsford, said the current appearance of the lane was nothing out of the ordinary and no lasting damage had been caused.

“The work looks a bit scruffy but these things always do until they are finished,” he said. “In a year’s time, the greenery will have grown back.”

Mr Rossi uses the workshop at the top of the lane for his business activities as an artist, designer and furniture maker.

“I own the one-acre site and with that comes access rights,” said Mr Rossi, who has been attempting to improve the condition of the surface along the length of Sheepgate Lane.

“At the start of this year, the lane looked like a mud pool.

“I have had comments from some residents saying that this work will really help to improve the lane,” he said.

Mr Rossi added that he would be seeking planning permission for a five-bedroom house on the site in the next 12 months. A similar application was refused in April 2010.