We want our footpath back...
That is the message from residents who are angry a developer has fenced off a path which they say has been used by the public for decades.
Now campaigners have applied to Lancashire County Council seeking to designate the path on land off Normoss Road as an official right of way.
They are worried because Wain Homes, which is developing the site, has fenced the path off blocking the access which opens into Marina Avenue.
David Mizon, of Kerslea Avenue, Highcross, near Poulton, said: “It has been a footpath for more than 100 years, and some local residents remember it 60 years ago. But it has been fenced off.
“It was used regularly by people who worked at the old school which was on the land, including by the head teacher whose house was on Normoss Road.
“A lot of people also used to come and walk it with their dogs every day, children have played on the land and it has been used as a community space.
“The path also links up with a network of other paths, which are officially designated as rights of way, but now people cannot access those either.”
Evidence has been collected from about 20 residents so far who say the path has been used for decades, but campaigners are hoping other regular users will contact them so they can build up even more evidence to support their claim.
Mr Mizon added: “If we can compile evidence of regular uninterrupted usage over the past 20 years, then we hope we can get the path designated an official right of way.”
Wainhomes did not respond to a request to comment on the issue, but in a letter to Mr Mizon, the company says if residents pursue their claim they will “adamantly defend it.”
The letter, written by the housebuilder’s land and planning director Peter Barlow, says they have “spoken with the original landowners and local neighbours and it is clear that there is no footpath crossing the site from the end of Marina Avenue.”
If Lancashire County Council agrees there is enough evidence, the application will be submitted to an independent planning inspector for consideration.
Anyone who would like to support the claim can contact David by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.