Two Ely footpaths need to be kept open says pressure group

Ely footpath 17 that Open Spaces says has been closed unofficially

Ely footpath 17 that Open Spaces says has been closed unofficially - Credit: Archant

Two public footpaths have been unlawfully closed in Ely, say campaigners with Britain’s oldest national conservation body.

Ely footpath 50 that Open Spaces campiagners say has been closed unofficially

Ely footpath 50 that Open Spaces campiagners say has been closed unofficially - Credit: Archant

The Open Spaces Society has complained to Cambridgeshire County Council about the unlawful closure of public paths that cross the by Network Rail line.

The society’s local correspondent, Alysoun Hodges, has written to Cambridgeshire County Council, the highway authority, to complain that footpaths 17 and 57, which cross the railway on either side of the River Lark to the east of Ely, have been closed without following proper procedures.

Alysoun said: ‘We deplore Network Rail’s pre-emptive action in closing public footpaths before any decision has been made about them.

“These paths are highways in law and should be reopened forthwith.


You may also want to watch:


“We understand that Network Rail is applying retrospectively for a traffic regulation order to close footpaths 17 and 57, but of course it should have applied for this first.

‘We have urged the county council, which is responsible for keeping paths clear of obstruction, to take swift action to ensure that everyone can use and enjoy these paths.”

Most Read

She said: “While Network Rail is carrying out a consultation on the closure of path crossings over railways lines in East Anglia, the public inquiry is not due to be held for another year and no decisions have been made.

“These paths are still highways in law.”

Ely footpath 50 (which connects to the Bishops Way circular route between Ely, Chettisham and Little Downham) has a misleading notice stating that it is closed, she added.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said: “Maintaining Rights of Way are important to us and our communities.

“We have contacted Network Rail to have the paths either reinstated or, as in some cases where they have been closed for safety reasons, more suitable alternatives put in place as soon as possible.

“We will continue to work with Network Rail to get the issue sorted as quickly as possible.”

•The Open Spaces Society was founded in 1865 and is Britain’s oldest national conservation body.

It campaigns to protect common land, village greens, open spaces and public paths and people’s right to enjoy them.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter