Former footpath linking village to popular Broads track moves step closer to revival
PUBLISHED: 16:58 26 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:58 26 July 2019
A long-running saga over a footpath linking a village into the Broads has edged a step closer to ending.
For four years, a permissive footpath linking the village Reedham onto a popular riverside walk has been closed, after it was deemed unsafe by the Broads Authority.
Campaigners have long fought to have the path, which connects Station Road to Wherryman's Way, re-instated, but discussions between the BA, Norfolk County Council, Reedham Parish Council and the landowner have been yet to reach a resolution.
However, a meeting of the Broads Authority discussing the footpath has revealed the matter is close to being resolved.
Among the points of discussion was the fact the Broads Local Access Forum - a semi-independent body which advises on improving public access - had agreed it should be reinstalled.
Lana Hempsall, Broadland Council's representative on the Broads Authority, also told members the landowner had indicated to her an agreement could be reached; on the condition that dogs not be allowed off the lead on the land.
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She said: "The landowner has told me that the sticking point from their point of view is that dogs are kept on the lead when using the footpath.
"If this is all that is required then surely we are almost there."
The committee agreed to advance its talks with the parish and county councils, as well as the landowner, as they look to thrash out a deal to bring the footpath into use.
Bill Dickson, who earlier in the meeting was elected new BA chairman, said: "I think we have a general understanding."
Keith Bacon, chairman of the local access forum, had written to the authority urging it to use powers under the Highways Act 1980 to establish the public footpath.
However, chief executive John Packman said the power should only be used as a last resort, should an agreement not be met.
He said: "Our view has always been that we will go through the legal route at the absolute last opportunity."
Since its closure in 2015, members of the village community have held a number of demonstrations calling for the path to be reinstated.