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We are dismayed that Plympton St Mary footpath 2, which runs through the grounds of the Ridgeway School, is to be closed. A public inquiry into the closure was held last month and the inspector, Mr Paul Dignan, ruled in favour of Plymouth City Council which wanted to close the path.
The school and the council argued that it was necessary to close the path in order to protect staff and pupils from anti-social behaviour. The objectors said that even if the path were closed, the public could still enter the site from Geasons Lane to the west, and the school had not done everything it could to make the site secure.
In addition, as the inspector acknowledged, the path is well used by local people, to gain access to community facilities such as the library, meeting hall and swimming pool, and the route was a quieter, reasonably direct and shorter alternative to the public roads that run alongside or close to the school. The alternatives are along busy roads with narrow pavements.
Says John Emery, a member of the Open Spaces Society who appeared as an objector at the inquiry: ‘We are deeply disappointed by this decision. The path through the school
grounds is popular and a much better route than the circuitous alternative. We do not consider the school has taken the necessary action to make the site secure and we suspect that closing the footpath will not help the school’s security, while putting the public to great inconvenience. The population of Plympton has lost a valuable asset.’