'Open hostility' to vicar over stile on public footpath
PUBLISHED: 09:15 30 August 2019 | UPDATED: 09:15 30 August 2019
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.
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.
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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."
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.