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'Open hostility' to vicar over stile on public footpath

PUBLISHED: 09:15 30 August 2019 | UPDATED: 09:15 30 August 2019

A vicar in Mulbarton has defended the erection of a fence and stile on a public footpath behind the church. Photo: Submitted

A vicar in Mulbarton has defended the erection of a fence and stile on a public footpath behind the church. Photo: Submitted

Archant

A vicar has defended the decision to erect a wooden stile on a footpath behind a church, despite concerns it will make it harder for some to use the route.

A vicar in Mulbarton has defended the erection of a fence and stile on a public footpath behind the church. Photo: SubmittedA vicar in Mulbarton has defended the erection of a fence and stile on a public footpath behind the church. Photo: Submitted

The Rev Adrian Miller, of Mulbarton Parish Church, responded to criticism after a photo of the new stile was shared on Facebook, prompting frustration among some parishioners.

The fence is on a public footpath which runs behind the church, and is part of a longer route around the village.

Roger Dyndal, who has lived in Mulbarton for six years, said the new stile was impractical for many who used the footpath and was likely to cause difficulty for less mobile users.

He said: "If a gate had been used it wouldn't be a problem but the size and nature of the stile makes the footpath inaccessible to many.

Picture of Bishop of Norwich Rt Rev Graham James ordaining 6 people to the Deaconate at Norwich Cathedral.
New deacon Adrian Miller.
Photo: Angela Sharpe
Copy: Shaun Lowthorpe
For: EDP News
EDP pics © 2006
(01603) 772434Picture of Bishop of Norwich Rt Rev Graham James ordaining 6 people to the Deaconate at Norwich Cathedral. New deacon Adrian Miller. Photo: Angela Sharpe Copy: Shaun Lowthorpe For: EDP News EDP pics © 2006 (01603) 772434

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"The footpath is heavily used by villagers and others. I've spoken to a lot of people in the village and have yet to meet anyone who supports the erection of the stile."

But Mr Miller said the stile was not a new addition and although it had been removed six years ago due to wood rot, there had been a fence in place for hundreds of years.

He said: "It took a lot of time and money to replace the stile and we did so to ensure the church yard is a safe place for everyone to use and to visit loved ones. The footpath is only for pedestrian use so it needs to be protected from wheeled vehicles."

Mulbarton church edp 15.12.01Mulbarton church edp 15.12.01

The vicar added that due to requirements laid out by church governing bodies, the original fence and stile needed to be replaced like for like, and that to change the design would have been an expensive and time-consuming process.

But Mr Dyndal said he would take the issue further and had reported his concerns to highways.

He added that he hoped the church would reconsider its decision in light of the "open hostility" expressed towards it.

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