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We have objected to Plymouth City Council’s proposal to close the public footpath at Ridgeway School, Geasons Lane, Plympton St Mary, Plymouth. The council has backed an application from the school’s proprietor to use the special law for closing paths across school grounds.
The council claims that it is necessary to close the path to protect pupils or staff from violence or harassment.
Says Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary: ‘The council has failed to produce the necessary evidence that the existence of the path is the cause of the alleged incidents which it claims put pupils and staff at risk. Nor has it demonstrated that, if the path was not there, the incidents would not occur.
‘In addition, the school has failed to make its premises secure. That means that potential malefactors could get into the grounds regardless of the existence of the footpath.
In deciding whether to confirm such a proposal, the Secretary of State for Environment must be satisfied that the school has done all it can to improve its security.
‘In 2007 the council made a similar order; there were more than 56 objections and it abandoned the proposal. Little has changed since then, except the importance of walking as a healthy activity has increased. If the council closes paths, it discourages people from walking. We have urged the council to abandon the closure plan,’ Kate concludes.