A councillor is asking the public to help restore a footpath after a landowner fenced off the popular track.
Cllr Carolyn Redfern, one of two Labour Councillors representing Sele Ward on East Herts District Council, is leading the campaign to restore public access to the Longwood footpath on the Sele Farm estate.
The footpath has been used by generations of families in the community and has been frequented by runners, dog walkers and hikers for many years. However, in the spring of 2019, wooden fences were suddenly erected across all of the entrances to the wood with accompanying “no entry” signs at the instruction of the land owner, Lefarge Tarmac.
Residents were shocked and disappointed by this decision. Following reports to Cllr Redfern and her colleague, Sele Ward Labour Councillor Mary Brady, there has been a growing campaign to restore open access to the Longwood pathway.
"A long standing and valued local amenity has suddenly been removed by the land owner, Lefarge Tarmac, seemingly without reason," Cllr Redfern said. "We are striving to return open access to Longwood and ensure that it is guaranteed as a public right of way for future generations, as it had been for our community before."
To be formally recognised, the pathway needs to be featured on the definitive map. To this end, Cllr Redfern is asking local residents to fill in a form confirming that they have regularly used this footpath in the last 20 years. Local residents can obtain a form by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a statement to Discover Hertford, Tarmac's Head of Development, David McCabe, said: "The land at Broad Oak is privately owned by Tarmac. In May 2019, we put in place new signage and measures to prevent unauthorised access across the site, which have repeatedly been removed. There are no public footpaths across the site but we remain open to a discussion with East Herts and Hertfordshire County Council about longer term opportunities to create a permissive route for the benefit of the local community."
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