Campaign launched to save historic grass track to Kersey church

Andy Hazell is against adding steps into a green path next to the church in Kersey.

Andy Hazell is against adding steps into a green path next to the church in Kersey. - Credit: Archant

It is among the prettiest villages in Suffolk, its iconic centre considered one of the most beautiful views in the county.

Kersey Splash in the June sunshine

Kersey Splash in the June sunshine - Credit:

But there is a disagreement brewing in Kersey over plans to make a footpath leading to the church safer - by replacing the lush green grass with a hard-surface alternative. There is even a claim it could “spoil the village”.

Resident Andy Hazell, 48, has mounted the campaign in a bid to stop Kersey Parish Council digging up the current grass track and replacing it with a fully surfaced pathway.

The parish council is looking into the plans amid safety concerns that the path becomes slippery after rain and particularly during the winter months.

Mr Hazell, who was born on Church Hill in the village, said he had used the path all his life, including as a boy when he was walking to school, and that the footpath would “spoil the village”.

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He said: “It’s a very photographed village. Once that structure’s there it’s going to look hideous.

“That path has been there for generations. I’ve not heard of anyone falling there and breaking any bones.

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“It’s a permanent structure which I believe is going to spoil the village.

“Safety-wise, if a child runs down that hill or an elderly person falls, they could cause themselves some serious damage.”

Over the coming days Mr Hazell will be distributing 200 flyers, printed at his own expense, to villagers in the hope that others will support his campaign to save the grass track.

Kersey parish councillor John Maltby said he had not been aware of the campaign, but stressed that no plans would be submitted without first gauging public opinion further.

He said: “School children use it everyday. If there’s ice on it or a lot of rain it can be slippery. We wanted to make it good for small feet.

“The problem, as far as I know, seems to be that there may, underneath, be water pipes or some other supply items, and also there’s the cost of it.

“The first thing is to get a design which is acceptable to the local authority, and then try to find funds for it.”

Mr Maltby added that so far, the majority of residents had shown little interest in the plans.

“Residents aren’t the people who use the path so there was marginal interest in it from that point of view,” he said. “Residents would like to see a safe path up that hill but they’re less interested in contributing to the design.

“No plan would be acceptable unless it was both safe for the children to walk on and relatively inconspicuous.”

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