Villagers’ anger after landowners close popular public footpaths including one which is 150 years old

Angry villagers have contacted their local council after discovering popular footpaths closed to the public.

Cheshire East says it has contacted landowners who have closed public footpaths because of the coronavirus crisis to say all rights of way should remain open.

The council’s statement came after angry villagers reported a footpath from Holmshaw Lane at Oakhanger to Park Road in Haslington had been blocked off with metal barriers.

One resident said: “We noticed the path was closed on March 24.

“The footpath in question is the Haslington FP9 footpath from Holmshaw Lane, Oakhanger to Park Road, Haslington. The path has been blocked on both ends of Haslngton Hall with 6ft high metal safety barriers and on the barriers is a sign saying ‘closed for coronavirus’.”

The resident said the footpath had been open to the public for more than 150 years.

“I have used it regularly for nearly 32 years without any problems until two weeks ago,” he said.

A council spokesperson said: “The council’s public rights of way service is currently receiving a high volume of enquiries concerning public rights of way in the borough.

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“Both landowners and users are contacting the council to seek clarification around issues concerning the use of public rights of way at a time when the public is asked to observe social distancing and to exercise close to their homes.

“We are aware that some landowners have closed footpaths and we have contacted them to advise them that, in line with government policy during the coronavirus emergency, all public rights of way should remain open.”

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