Helmshore Primary School’s footpath fight lost

First published in Helmshore Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Crime reporter

A PRIMARY school has lost out in a bid to stop access to a public footpath across its playing field.

The long standing row over access rights around Helmshore Primary School led to a public inquiry being called back in June.

And now a planning inspector has sided with campaigners, and ordered that walkers have access to the path.

Bosses at the school put up a fence around the perimeter of the school’s playing fields in 2005 after having problems with dog mess and broken glass.

The fencing blocked access to public footpaths regularly used by local dog walkers which caused friction with local residents.

They argued that villagers had had a right of way on the site at Gregory Fold for more than 70 years.

Lancashire County Council, which owns the land, erected the fencing without permission but after a 900-signature petition was presented to them, county council bosses were forced to apply for retrospective planning permission from their own committee.

This application was subsequently with drawn after the school reduced the fence to two metres, a height permitted under development rights.

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However, the public inquiry chaired by Inspector Helen Slade into access rights around the school agreed with campaigners.

Mrs Slade said: “I conclude that a public right of way has been shown to subsist and that the order should be confirmed.”

Keith Pilkington, of the Helmshore Action Group, said: “Obviously we are pleased that the inspector recognised the rights of way we know have been there for many years.

“We are now wishing to hold talks with Lancashire County Council and the school to discuss the possibility of allowing the field to be used by the community out of school times.”

The school has six weeks to appeal the decision.

Nobody at the school was able to comment on the decision.

Comments (5)

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1:35pm Fri 2 Dec 11

HelmshoreBoy says...

A victory for common sense!
A victory for common sense! HelmshoreBoy
  • Score: -1

1:16pm Sat 3 Dec 11

Luddite says...

Praise be ,pass the pooch poop scooper!
Praise be ,pass the pooch poop scooper! Luddite
  • Score: -1

2:09pm Sun 4 Dec 11

hassy bloke says...

Congratulations to all the campaigners, fence should never have been erected. Let the kids enjoy playing there, is that not what the fields were intended for?
Congratulations to all the campaigners, fence should never have been erected. Let the kids enjoy playing there, is that not what the fields were intended for? hassy bloke
  • Score: -1

2:59pm Sun 4 Dec 11

RibbleLad says...

All very well letting children play on school property out of school hours so long as the parents do not start suing the school when they break an arm or a leg; when they cut themselves on broken beer bottles; when they spike themselves on discarded needles; or when they go blind as a result of catching toxicaria from the inevitable dog pooh left behind by thoughtless dog owners of the "couldn't give a s***" variety.

Further, as I understand it this modification order is only in respect of the "footpath", which will be clearly defined strip across the school's property. The right to pass and repass along this clearly defined right of way does not confer any rights whatsoever to the public in respect of roaming at will over private property. Perhaps the Governors of the school should go and hold barbecues in the back gardens of those who think it OK to let their dogs pooh at will on the school's private property.
All very well letting children play on school property out of school hours so long as the parents do not start suing the school when they break an arm or a leg; when they cut themselves on broken beer bottles; when they spike themselves on discarded needles; or when they go blind as a result of catching toxicaria from the inevitable dog pooh left behind by thoughtless dog owners of the "couldn't give a s***" variety. Further, as I understand it this modification order is only in respect of the "footpath", which will be clearly defined strip across the school's property. The right to pass and repass along this clearly defined right of way does not confer any rights whatsoever to the public in respect of roaming at will over private property. Perhaps the Governors of the school should go and hold barbecues in the back gardens of those who think it OK to let their dogs pooh at will on the school's private property. RibbleLad
  • Score: 1

11:15am Tue 6 Dec 11

HelmshoreGuy says...

This is fantastic news and many thanks to Keith Pilkington for persisting with this, without him these footpaths would have been lost forever.

It just seems wrong that someone can illegally close off footpaths, ignore the communities wishes and it takes a 6 year battle to reopen them. You have to think that someone (the headteacher?) should be brought to account for this.
This is fantastic news and many thanks to Keith Pilkington for persisting with this, without him these footpaths would have been lost forever. It just seems wrong that someone can illegally close off footpaths, ignore the communities wishes and it takes a 6 year battle to reopen them. You have to think that someone (the headteacher?) should be brought to account for this. HelmshoreGuy
  • Score: -1

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