We are dismayed at the outcome of the long saga to prevent Epworth footpath number 74, 15 miles south-west of Scunthorpe in North Lincolnshire, from being moved to an inferior route.
We had backed local people, including its member Graham Wager of Epworth Turbary, in opposing the plan. Following a public inquiry which ended in February 2008, the inspector, Mark Yates, has finally ruled that the path should be moved.
The path runs alongside Old Turbary Drain but the residents of the nearby house, Starcross, had extended their garden over the path, to make it look like their private property, partly obstructing the route and discouraging people from using it.
Instead of carrying out its legal duty of reopening the path, North Lincolnshire Council agreed with the property owners to move the path to the other side of the drain. Because there were objections a public inquiry was held.
Says Graham Wager: ‘We are deeply disappointed that the inspector has decided that the path should be moved instead of fully reopened.
‘Had North Lincolnshire Council and its predecessor councils carried out their statutory duty to preserve and protect this section of footpath 74, none of this would have been necessary.
‘We are sad to lose a part of the Turbary heritage that so many have fought for over the past nine years.’