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We are dismayed that Lancashire County Council proposes to close three footpaths which cross land at Helmshore Primary School, Haslingden, having failed last year to move them out of the way.
The paths cross the field in the form of a triangle.
The council claims the cross-field paths are a risk to security, yet it has produced no evidence to back this up. The paths were claimed for the official map by our member the Helmshore Community Action Group (HCAG) when the school obstructed them in 2005. Once the paths were added to the map, the obstructions were clearly illegal and HCAG secured their removal.
The council’s plans to divert the paths onto inferior routes were rejected by the Planning Inspectorate following a public inquiry last year. The council then consulted on various options. HCAG suggested a compromise which the Open Spaces Society supported.
While both organisations much preferred no change, they were prepared to accept closure of one of the cross-field routes and fencing in of the remaining two paths so that they are separated from the school grounds.
Unfortunately the council has rejected this and now wants to close all three paths at an estimated cost of £10,000 of public money.
The council should stop wasting public money in trying to close these paths. It failed to divert them last year so it is highly unlikely that the Planning Inspectorate would agree to their closure.