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Footpath to reopen across east meadows in Stamford

A campaigner who wants to protect one of Stamford’s meadows from development has called for footpaths across it to be made accessible again.

Richard Cleaver, who is behind the ‘Protect and Restore Stamford’s East Meadows’ awareness campaign was dismayed when permissive footpaths across the meadows were closed in November last year.

Gates to the meadows from St Leonard’s Priory and from Cherryholt Road were locked and signs indicating the route of the permissive footpaths were removed.

A locked gate on Priory Road that leads to the east meadows
A locked gate on Priory Road that leads to the east meadows

The land is owned by the Cecil Estate Family Trust, which employs Strutt and Parker to manage its estate.

At the time, Strutt and Parker indicated this would not be permanent, and now the land agent has confirmed it will be reopening one of the paths, which leads from St Leonard’s Priory down to a public footpath that follows the northern bank of the River Welland. The public footpath, which has entrances at the bottom of Cherryholt Road and at the Morrison’s roundabout, was cleared of overgrowth and made accessible last year.

Priory Road resident Kevin Hill was among those who had called for the reopening the permissive paths.

He had said: “The landowner is quite in their rights to stop us but come on, we are not disturbing sheep or cattle. We are not digging up the field. We are, in these strange times, just wanting to maintain overall health and mental wellbeing and it is a crying shame we are denied access to the re-opened riverbank from the priory.”

Bill Anderson, who lives nearby, had also voiced his concerns, saying: “After years of being denied access along the right of way along the East Meadows riverbank, I was delighted, last year, when Lincolnshire County Council reopened and renovated the pathway,” adding that it was “a pity” that the permissive footpath had been closed since November.

Mr Cleaver is prominent in a campaign to prevent development on the East Meadows. In November, South Kesteven District Council refused planning permission for 31 homes on the part of the meadows between the Bowman Mews development off Cherryholt Road and the Priory Road allotments.

A spokesman for Strutt and Parker said putting in fencing along the route of the permissive path had been delayed by wet ground conditions, but this work would be able to start soon and the gates would be unlocked.

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