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Sudbury: Six-year battle over use of bridleway is resolved

PUBLISHED: 08:47 28 August 2014 | UPDATED: 08:47 28 August 2014

Archant

Horse riders are celebrating the news that they can officially use a bridleway in Sudbury after a planning inspector put an end to a six-year battle.

The riders have been campaigning to get the pathway near Brundon Lane upgraded to a designated bridleway.

The county council agreed to a modification order to enable this to happen, but landowners the Norman family lodged an objection fearing that the pathway could be used by vehicles.

The route has unofficially been used by horses for more than half a century without any dispute. But rider Christine Chaplin, who spearheaded the campaign, claims the landowner first challenged her use of the pathway in 2008.

A formal application to change the definitive map and make the bridleway official was submitted in 2009 and subsequently recommended in 2013. But due to the objection, the pathway’s fate was decided at a public inquiry held in Acton earlier this month.

This week, the riders were informed that their bid had finally been accepted.

In her report, Government inspector Susan Doran said she had decided to confirm the order and notices are expected to be placed at the site within the next three weeks.

Mrs Chaplin said she was delighted with the inspector’s decision.

She added: “I am 68 years old and I rode down that path when I was 11 - it has always been used as a bridleway and it wasn’t until relatively recently that I was told by the landowner that I couldn’t ride through there.

“If we ride the alternative route via the old railway line, we have to come down a horribly steep bank and out onto Ballingdon Street which is extremely busy and dangerous.

“We can’t use it until the notices have gone up saying that it is now a bridle path and then after that, the landowner still has four weeks in which to appeal to the high court, so we are cautiously optimistic at this point.”

County and district councillor John Sayers said he hoped there would be no appeal. He added: “Four generations of my family have used that path as a brideway and it has never been challenged. The riders’ campaign has been a great success and I hope now that the planning inspector’s decision will stand and that they can get on with using the pathway again.”

Last night, no-one from the Norman family was available to comment on the order decision.

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