Dispute as gates put up on country track

Mr Lavendar with one of the gates near the end of Hoyle Mill Road, Kinsley Ref: AB205a0516
Mr Lavendar with one of the gates near the end of Hoyle Mill Road, Kinsley Ref: AB205a0516

Wheelchair users and horse riders are struggling to access a public footpath to countryside surrounding Hemsworth after new gates were installed.

Hemsworth Town Council chairman Tony Upson said landowners had put up two barriers off Hoyle Mill Road - one along a track leading from Kinsley to Ackworth and another along a track leading to Hemsworth.

He said: “The barriers restrict access of the community to the countryside and must be treated seriously. They will impede horses and carriages and disabled people, who use the routes regularly.”

Wakefield Council said the gate along the Ackworth route was on a public bridleway. But it said it was satisfied the barrier does not cause an obstruction to the public.

Neil Rodgers, service director for planning, transportation and highways said: “The gate is suitable for horse riders and there is a gap to the side for other users, including disabled people and for people with pushchairs.”

He added that the barrier en route to Hemsworth was not on a track which was registered as a public right of way.

Claude Lavender, 78, who lives off Hoyle Mill Road with his wife, said the gates meant he could now only get to and from his home via Ackworth.

He said: “We have had vehicle access to get out to Kinsley or Hemsworth for 30 some years. But now our routes have been blocked off. We are worried emergency vehicles would struggle to find us if anything went wrong.”