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We have objected to plans from a landowner to move public footpaths onto inferior routes, to accommodate a vineyard, at Meopham in Kent. We are backing our member the Meopham and District Footpaths Group in fighting the proposals.
The landowner, Mr G Bassi, says that he bought the land with the intention of expanding his viticulture business. However the fields are crossed by popular public paths. He now wants to move these from across the fields to the field edges.
Says our local correspondent, David Thornewell: ‘These paths are immensely popular with local people and visitors because they provide direct links with the village of Meopham through beautiful countryside.
‘At present these paths follow purposeful routes across the countryside. The proposed diversion would result in the routes following the field edges, instead of running obliquely up and down the slope, and one of the new routes would be much steeper and, being muddy, more slippery.
‘The existing paths command fine views which are not available from the alternatives along the field edges.
‘These paths have existed for centuries and should not be contorted to suit a transitory land-use such as vine-growing. The applicant should find land which is not crossed by public paths for his activity.’