Footpath shock for widow
A WIDOW has been left shocked and upset after being told a footpath officially passes through her living room.Janet Caldwell was horrified when she received a letter from Suffolk County Council showing the route of footpath number 60 (FP60) passing up her front garden in New Road, Framlingham, through her house and out into her back garden before eventually joining the town's College Road.
By Sarah Chambers
A WIDOW has been left shocked and upset after being told a footpath officially passes through her living room.
Janet Caldwell was horrified when she received a letter from Suffolk County Council showing the route of footpath number 60 (FP60) passing up her front garden in New Road, Framlingham, through her house and out into her back garden before eventually joining the town's College Road.
Retired caterer Mrs Caldwell, aged 70, who bought her house four years ago, has been told a report is being drawn up about the route of the path which is now due to go before the council's May 31 rights of way sub-committee meeting.
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According to the county council, her home, which lies on the edge of a prestigious new estate near the town's Mere, is recorded on the Definitive Map for the area as lying in the middle of FP60.
However, in the letter to Mrs Caldwell, a legal researcher at the council says it is “unlikely” that the map is correct, and they were therefore “taking steps to resolve this issue as quickly as possible”.
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Council officials believe that the map should show the alignment of FP60 as passing along a track to the south of the town's Drill Hall, which lies further along New Road.
The letter said: “The Definitive Map and Statement are conclusive legal documents, produced by the County Council, which show the position of public footpaths, bridleways, road used as public paths and byways open to all traffic.
“If the map shows a public right of way in a particular position that is conclusive evidence that the right of way exists in law on that alignment (even if there are physical difficulties on the ground).”
The council is investigating the matter and will analyse all the evidence presented to it before drawing up a report for councillors.
Mrs Caldwell has been invited to present any information she has.
She has been left puzzled that the council's map should show the route of the path passing through her house when British Telecom and Essex and Suffolk Water maps show the path running beside her property, but on the other side of her boundary.
Legal checks carried out when she bought the house did not reveal any problems, she said.
“You can laugh at it, but I got a shock when that came through the door,” she said.
“I opened up the letter and saw 'This may affect your property'.
“I thought 'Oh my God' and my heart really started going, imagining people going through my house or my house having to be demolished.”
She added: “I can joke about it now, but I really was shocked and upset about it.”
The issue was due to go before the March 31 rights of way sub-committee meeting, but because of the full agenda, the item was moved to May 31.
A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said: “The footpath is to be discussed by the county council's rights of way sub-committee at the next available opportunity, which is May 31.
“At this meeting councillors will look to resolve the issue.”