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Great Cornard footpath dispute could be resolved in coming months




The future of a disputed pathway could be resolved in the coming months.

In June of last year, Great Cornard Parish Council submitted a formal application to add Crab Hill Lane, Great Cornard, Suffolk, to a register of public footpaths, known as the ‘definitive map’.

The lane runs from the rear of Davidson Close to Joe’s Road.

Suffolk County Council, Endeavour House, Ipswich.
Suffolk County Council, Endeavour House, Ipswich.

The council’s application followed requests by the public and was supported by 26 'evidence statements' of use, in favour of the move.

It was prompted by a gate being installed by a homeowner living along the lane, which, though not listed, local people said had been used as a public footpath “for as long as anyone could remember”.

They claim the route was missed off the register in the 1970’s in error and say that 'old maps show it as a byway'.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “The definitive map is the legal record of public rights of way but it is possible that unrecorded public rights may exist.

“A formal application for a definitive map modification order does not create a new public right of way; an order can only be confirmed if there is sufficient evidence to support the existence of unrecorded public rights.

"Officers have carried out an investigation of the evidence relating to Crab Hill Lane, including research in the archives, and are preparing a report.”

It is expected that the report will be heard at the county council’s development and regulation committee in October.

The committee will decide whether the evidence supports making a modification order to add the claimed route to the definitive map, having considered the officer’s recommendation and heard from any public speakers at the meeting.

If an order is recommended, it will be advertised and there will then be a six-week public objection period. If there are no objections, the county council can confirm an order as unopposed.

If objections are received, the authority must submit the order and any objections to the Secretary of State for a decision. Any decision will then be made by an independent inspector, usually after a public inquiry.

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