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Footpath Closed

August 13, 2014 5:43 PM
By Alan Hilliar

Local business cuts off cycle access to Blackwater Valley Path

Early in July, cyclists and pedestrians using the very popular Blackwater Valley Path were frustrated to find that an eight foot high metal fence with padlocked gates had been erected blocking off access to the Blackwater Valley Path near North Camp station. The Blackwater Valley Trust who are responsible for the footpath confirmed that the landlord (and owner of the adjacent fishing lakes and the nearby metal recycling plant "Car and Metal Recyclers") had given a month's notice (after 25 years of uninterrupted use) to close off access to the path. This came a few months after Rushmoor Council had refused to grant Car and Metal Recyclers retrospective planning permission for the storage of scrap metal vehicles.

Pedestrians will be able to access the remainder of the Blackwater Valley Path via a diversion but cyclists have no off road access around the half mile section that's been closed off.

Alan Hilliar, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Aldershot said "Given the 25 years or so that the Blackwater Valley Path has been in operation, it seems crazy that 23 miles of publicly funded footpath can be cut in half at a moment's notice at the whim of the landowner. Equally, if there is a dispute with the owner about the footpath surely there must be something in the agreement that talks about notice periods and arbitration.

I use the path regularly each week to cycle from Ash to South Farnborough. There are dozens if not hundreds of other walkers and cyclists each week for whom this is an essential route, whether for work or for leisure.

To avoid the blocked off section, we have to either cycle an additional two miles via Ash Vale or take our lives in my hands by using the cycle track along the A331.

I think we need Rushmoor Council to intervene and to clarify what legal powers we have and what influence we can bring to bear on the landowner to restore public access to this very important cycle and leisure pathway."

Alan Hilliar

Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate

Alan Hilliar at the closed footpath

Alan Hilliar at the closed footpath