Thursday, July 25, 2024

Newbury footpath approved

Newbury residents have won their battle to get a public footpath sealed in the firmament.

They have been battling to make sure the path running between Sidestrand Road and Andover Road via Fairview is recorded on council maps.

“It’s taken nearly two-and-a-half years,” explained Tony Vickers (Lib Dem, Wash Common).

“There were not real objections but it has taken this long to complete the legal process.”

Mr Vickers, a keen walker, is now putting his weight behind the West Berkshire ‘Lost Paths’ project.

“This is trying to get hundreds more public rights of way on to the ‘definitive map’ across England and Wales.

“Several are in West Berks and I’ve volunteered to do some map-based research.”

The Local Access Forum (LAF) advises the council on how best to improve the rights of way. It now includes urban as well as rural routes.

“It is keen to protect and improve the rights of way network and I’ve been a member of the LAF for 15 years – mostly as cross-party council appointee,” said Mr Vickers

LAFs include land managers, path users (including off-roaders and horse-riders) and ‘others’ with an interest in outdoor recreation.

West Berkshire Council has made a Definitive Map Modification Order to record a public footpath in Newbury, running between Sidestrand Road and Andover Road via Fairview.

It has been welcomed by local residents.

“I live on Andover Road opposite Fairview and my family use this path regularly to access Sidestrand Road,” said Jane Oliver. “I have two children in John Rankin School so we use the path several times a day.

“If we were to be denied access it would mean a significantly longer walk to school for my children or we would have to revert to driving.”

Photo by Simon Barnes Flickr CCL