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Footpath fears allayed

PUBLISHED: 13:27 27 February 2008 | UPDATED: 14:28 07 July 2010

Fears that a picturesque footpath running through a popular moor could be turned into a major road have been allayed.

Residents near Neatherd Moor in Dereham have been up in arms after receiving letters from Norfolk County Council informing them a dirt track running along fields is set to be open to all traffic.

Fears that a picturesque footpath running through a popular moor could be turned into a major road have been allayed.

Residents near Neatherd Moor in Dereham have been up in arms after receiving letters from Norfolk County Council informing them a dirt track running along fields is set to be open to all traffic.

The proposed plans would mean vehicles would pass close to Dereham Town Football Club, providing a cut through from Northall Green Lane to Etling Green.

Alan Cooper, from Swanton Avenue, said: “It's where children go to learn to ride bikes. People take their dogs for walks and families relax there.

“To allow cars and all sorts down there would be awful. Nobody would be able to safely use the area. It's a quiet piece of countryside why do people want to destroy that.”

A public inquiry is set to be held later in the year where the planning inspectorate will decide how to categorise the routes.

But last week a spokesman for Norfolk County Council tried to allay fears, saying

the move aims to preserve public rights for the future.

“We are seeking to establish the legal status of a number of paths in the Dereham area following a claim made many years ago by the town council.

“This would preserve the public rights for the future by adding them to the definitive map. We believe the highest designation would be that of restricted byway,” said the spokesman.

If the inspector agrees it would exclude mechanically propelled vehicles but allow use by pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and horses and carts.

“We would like to reassure people that this

is not about surfacing open spaces. Rather, it is trying to preserve what is already there for future generations,” added the spokesman.

A public inquiry to consider the decision will be held at Dereham Town Football Club on Wednesday, June 25 at 10am.

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