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Future of path is subject of heated public inquiry




Market Deeping footpath
Market Deeping footpath

A public inquiry has been held into the future of a public footpath in Market Deeping.

The two-day inquiry, at the Oddfellows Hall in Church Street, opened on Tuesday to consider the future of the Market Deeping and Deeping St James public footpath, between Godsey Lane and Jubilee Drive.

Part of the footpath that runs from the back of the Tesco supermarket has been blocked by new houses, and Lincolnshire County Council want to maintain the current route that developer Persimmon Homes provided - in place of an existing public right of way.

But Market Deeping town councillor Adam Brookes opposes that - saying the new path is “is perfect for neither cycling or walking”.

During his objections, which he made on behalf of the town council and himself, he cited concerns about the width of the current path, sight-lines and a sloping section.

Sharon James, definitive map officer for Lincolnshire County Council, told the inquiry: “I believe that it [the current route] would add to the well-used link and the convenience of people using the link.”

Coun Brookes said he had issues with “accessibility” and “sight-lines”, as pedestrians have to walk around a fence to reach the new section of footpath.

“The fence is forcing us to have this narrow path,” said Coun Brookes.

“We need to have a route with a width that is
suitable.”

He had concerns about capacity and width of the path as further homes are set to be built on land to the east of the new development.

The town council believes the path should be widened and the fence, which has trellis on top of it, should be removed.

Witnesses also spoke at the inquiry, both in support of and objecting to the proposals.

Jubilee Drive resident Lyn Palmer, said she had concerns over safety, security and vehicle access if the current footpath was changed.

She said anti-social behaviour took place down the alleyway and feared for the safety of her family if the fence was removed to widen the path.

“We feel safe having that fence near to us,” she said.

“If that fence was removed, that would make us feel unsafe.

“If it (the path) was three metres wide, then it would run right by our drive.”

She had further concerns that this would put users of the path in danger from passing cars.

Mrs Palmer added that emergency services may also struggle to get down Jubilee Drive should changes be made to the current path.

Another resident also spoke and echoed Mrs Palmer’s thoughts in her submission to the inquiry.

Coun Ashley Baxter supported the objections ofthe Town Council and Coun Brookes.

“This is a main route into Market Deeeping and is the main arterial route for residents who live in the new houses,” he said.

“It links the schools, supermarkets and new homes and the health centre.

“Lots of people from the houses, if adequate, would use this path to get to all these facilities.

“Persimmon have let down this community.

“It should have been done properly in the first place.”

Coun Phil Dilks and Gordon Smith, from Deepings First, also spoke in support of Market Deeping Town Council’s proposal to widen the footpath.

On the final day of the inquiry, the solicitor for Lincolnshire County Council mentioned the council might be able to increase the width of the path slightly and make improvements to a sloped section by the
fence.

No-one from Persimmon Homes was present at the inquiry but a spokesman for Persimmon Homes East Midlands told the Mercury afterwards: “The development has been built in accordance to the plans approved by Lincolnshire County Council and as such the formal amendment to the public right of way does not fall under our remit.

“We are happy to engage with anyone who has an interest in the amendment and they can share their views by contacting Ben Purdy, head of technical at Persimmon Homes East Midlands, by calling the Peterborough regional office.”

Planning Inspector Mark Yates, who led the planning enquiry, is expected to make a decision on the future of the footpath in the coming
weeks.


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