Councillors praise move to surface footpath after decade-long wait

Former councillor Michael Sharman is thrilled the "quagmire" on footpath 34 will be surfaced over Pi

Former councillor Michael Sharman is thrilled the "quagmire" on footpath 34 will be surfaced over Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Surfacing of a muddy footpath in Felixstowe has begun following more than a decade of campaigning by community leaders.

The path, linking Grange Farm Avenue and Grange Road, had been the subject of years of discussions between Suffolk Highways and Morrisons, who owned part of the land.

However, it is understood that these issues have now been resolved, meaning an eight week-long surfacing project was finally able to commence on Monday.

Town councillors say the improved footpath will provide better access links throughout the town.

Former councillor Michael Sharman had previously described the footpath, which passes behind the Morrisons store in Grange Farm Avenue, as "almost impassable" in the rain.

Morrisons had blocked previous development plans as it owned part of the track. A resolution to this issue means the path may now be surfaced over, while paving stones will be removed and sections widened to allow for cycle use.

Mr Sharman said: "This was an issue that had been going on for more than a decade. The path became a quagmire in the winter and in the summer it was rock hard. I'm absolutely delighted that this work has finally gone ahead.

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"It will link more of the town together, and I'm happy to see more cycle paths in Felixstowe."

Councillor Graham Newman added: "I am absolutely delighted that Suffolk Highways have been able to start on this work.

"Funding for this project was obtained soon after the pedestrian and cycle bridge was opened over the A14 Port of Felixstowe Road more than a decade ago, but completion has been thwarted by the need to overcome various legal hurdles.

"Resolving these issues and surfacing of the path will regularise its use, albeit over a route which the public has been walking daily for at least 25 years.

"Ultimately, it will complete an ideal 'off-main-road' cycle route between Felixstowe town, the port and Trimley St Mary."

A spokesman for Felixstowe Town Council said: "We are delighted to see these works finally receive the go-ahead, as the councillors and officials have been working hard behind the scenes to make this project happen.

"We would like to thank Morrisons and Suffolk Highways for coming to an agreement."