Delight as popular path set to reopen

Latest news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter
Latest news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

An eight-year battle to have a popular footpath reopened to the public could soon be over after landowners dropped their legal challenge.

The path at Kipling’s Meadow, near Hall Road in Borley, was sealed off in 2007 – with barbed wire and grease on gateposts – to deter former users from returning.

The path, which had been used since the Second World War, was also blocked off with metal gates.

A public right of way application was submitted by campaigners and approved by Suffolk County Council, only for an objection to be lodged by the land owner.

On Monday, the Free Press was informed that this objection had now been dropped and the tribunal hearing scheduled for June 16 cancelled.

County councillor John Sayers, who regularly used the footpath, said he was delighted at the decision.

“If there’s now no objection, the footpath will go in Suffolk County Council’s definitive map,” he said.

“Everyone will be joyful to hear that. It’s part of the area’s heritage.”

Mr Sayers said the next step would be for a footbridge to be built over a small stream after the previous bridge was taken away.

The path links an existing footpath with Melford Road and will allow walkers in the area to take a shorter route.

Mr Sayers said he had often used the “pretty little path” to go fishing and said it was also popular with dog walkers.

“It’s only a short bit but it’s a lovely little walk,” he added.

The process had taken such a long time as permission for it to become a public right of way was needed from both Essex and Suffolk county councils as it crosses the border between the two counties.

Philip Richardson, who campaigned for the path to have right of way status, said the order would now be submitted to the Secretary of State, adding that he hoped the paths would be formally waymarked later in the year.