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We have objected to plans from Lancashire County Council to move newly-claimed footpaths which cross an open field at Helmshore School, Haslingden. The paths were claimed by the Helmshore Community Action Group, members of the Open Spaces Society, and added to the official path-map last November.
The routes have been illegally blocked by fencing and now Lancashire County Council wants to divert one of them, which runs across the field, to the edge where it is boggy and overgrown. The county council is the owner of the land and is also the highway authority which processes the plans to move the path.
Says Keith Pilkington of the Helmshore Community Action Group: ‘We claimed these routes because we had evidence of use by the public over a long period. Clearly people want and need to be able to use these paths and we were dismayed when the council applied to move them.
‘For months our group has tried to talk to the county council’s officers and members in the hope of reaching a reasonable compromise. Sadly, they have ignored our views and are charging ahead with their proposals.’
Adds Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary: ‘We are appalled that these paths are illegally blocked by fencing, on land owned by Lancashire County Council which, as the highway authority, should be setting an example to others. It is sad that Lancashire County Council wants to move these paths onto routes which are inferior for the public. We are pleased to be helping local people to save their much-loved paths.’