Ancient walkways set to open again

ANICENT walkways in Nailsea could to be re-opened to walkers and riders following a four year campaign. North Somerset Council rubber stamped proposals to make North Drove, West End Drove and Gaul Drove off Watery Lane into official public rights of way a

ANICENT walkways in Nailsea could to be re-opened to walkers and riders following a four year campaign.North Somerset Council rubber stamped proposals to make North Drove, West End Drove and Gaul Drove off Watery Lane into official public rights of way at a hearing earlier this month.The authority has agreed to make a modification order and add the droves to the public rights of way map.The droves, which have been used by ramblers and horse riders for years, were closed off during the foot and mouth crisis, with access to the public being restricted ever since. Nailsea Town Council applied to North Somerset following lifting of the foot and mouth restrictions to have the routes officially recognised as public rights of way.The authority was duty bound to deal with the application within 12 months, but after 18 months and no action, councillors wrote to the Secretary of State asking the Government to intervene and press North Somerset to resolve the matter.Now, after years of pressing for the walkways to be officially recognised, North Somerset Council's public rights of way committee has finally agreed to earmark the droves as an official public right of ways.The decision now has to be advertised to see if any objections from local landowners come forward.Nailsea councillor Phil Barclay led the campaign to get the droves re-opened to the public.Councillor Barclay said: "If it is proved that the rights of way exist then the droves will be a fabulous facility for the local community."If objections do come forward it is likely a public inquiry into the modification order will be held, with the Secretary of State having the final say on the matter.If no objections arise, the authority will be able to confirm the order and re-open the droves.


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