Hall owners told to remove fence from public footpath

The fence that was restricting access to a footpath at Hautbois Hall near Coltishall. Picture: OPEN

The fence that was restricting access to a footpath at Hautbois Hall near Coltishall. Picture: OPEN SPACES SOCIETY - Credit: Archant

The owners of a Tudor mansion have been forced to remove a fence from their driveway because it forms part of a public footpath. The 20ft-long wooden fence and gate was erected at the entrance to 16th-century Hautbois Hall near Coltishall.

Lester and Katie Bayfield have run the retreat as a bed-and-breakfast wedding venue for three years.

Norfolk County Council took enforcement action against the couple to secure the removal of the fence, that was judged to be restricting access to the footpath, which forms part of a circular walk.

The move followed a complaint from The Open Spaces Society. Legal steps had previously been taken after the path was blocked in 2010.

Open Spaces Society local correspondent Ian Witham said he was delighted the council had asserted the public's right to use and enjoy the full width of the path and had once again threatened legal action.

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Mr Bayfield claimed the fence and gate had been put up for the benefit of visitors and to prevent trespass.

'I had the fence placed on the driveway to filter walkers onto the side of the railway track where the footpath goes,' said Mr Bayfield.

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'It runs down the driveway, but the route is a bit vague. This is part of the public access to the hall and we wanted to put the fence up for the benefit of our visitors.

'The grounds can be openly accessed from the footpath and I recently found youths on diggers and dumpers stored on the site.'

A council spokesman said there was a legal requirement to keep footpaths open and it also regarded it as important that access to walking facilities was maintained.

Have you got a story about access rights? Contact miles.jermy@archant.co.uk

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