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We have complained to Cambridgeshire County Council about the unlawful closure of public paths by Network Rail.
Our local correspondent, Alysoun Hodges, was dismayed to discover that Network Rail has closed footpaths in Ely where they cross the railway line. While Network Rail is carrying out a consultation on the closure of path crossings over railways lines in East Anglia, the public inquiry is not due to be held for another year and no decisions have been made. These paths are still highways in law.
Alysoun has written to Cambridgeshire County Council, the highway authority, to complain that Ely footpaths 17 and 57, which cross the railway on either side of the River Lark to the east of Ely, have been closed by Network Rail without following proper procedures.
Ely footpath 50 (which connects to the Bishop’s Way circular route between Ely, Chettisham and Little Downham) has a misleading notice stating that it is closed.
Says Alysoun: ‘We deplore Network Rail’s pre-emptive action in closing public footpaths before any decision has been made about them. These paths are highways in law and should be reopened forthwith.
We understand that Network Rail is applying retrospectively for a traffic regulation order to close footpaths 17 and 57, but of course it should have applied for this first.
‘We have urged the county council, which is responsible for keeping paths clear of obstruction, to take swift action to ensure that everyone can use and enjoy these paths.’