Community divided over footpath row

Harley Martin, Margaret Smith, Gail Marshall, Gareth Marshall, Wendy Wilcock are trying to stop the closure of a footpath which runs between Stoney Lane and Hall Lane. The footpath is claimed to be a hot spot for anti-social behaviour.
Harley Martin, Margaret Smith, Gail Marshall, Gareth Marshall, Wendy Wilcock are trying to stop the closure of a footpath which runs between Stoney Lane and Hall Lane. The footpath is claimed to be a hot spot for anti-social behaviour.

A COMMUNITY has been divided over controversial plans to close a footpath.

People living on Hill Lane in Chapelthorpe have called for the path, which leads to Stoney Lane, to be blocked off, claiming it attracts vandals and drug users and that people living next to the path have been victims of burglars.

One woman, who does not wish to be named, has called on Wakefield Council to use special powers to bring in a gating order on the path.

She said: “The problems aren’t just anti-social behaviour, the path is used by criminals to dump stolen goods, there is drug taking and dealing going on.

“We constantly have to call the police – there have been 49 offences in the last 12 months.”

Many other residents are supporting the plans but did not wish to be identified for fear of repercussions.

But people who live on the other side say it has been a public right of way for hundreds of years and should remain so.

Wendy Wilcock, 48, of Painthorpe Lane, said: “The path is used by everyone, especially kids going to school and older people going to the doctors in Kettlethorpe.”

The path runs alongside the Bay Horse Pub and landlord Steve Sambrook said he has never seen any anti-social behaviour.

Insp Lee Carlson, of the Rural neighbourhood police team (NPT), said: “The NPT has been actively involved in dealing with the complaints from local residents, most of which have been reported to us by the landowner adjacent to the path.

“The residents have asked Wakefield Council for a gating order to close the footpath which is in the process of being reviewed by them.”

A Wakefield Council spokeswoman confirmed it was looking into closing the footpath.

She added public consultation would was due to start shortly.