River users win footpath fight

RIVER users have won their expensive battle for a public footpath to be officially recognised.Suffolk County Council has confirmed the public footpath, which leads from the Ramsholt Arms to the River Deben, near Woodbridge.

By Richard Smith

RIVER users have won their expensive battle for a public footpath to be officially recognised.

Suffolk County Council has confirmed the public footpath, which leads from the Ramsholt Arms to the River Deben, near Woodbridge.

It is at a prime location on the river and is used by thousands of sailors and visitors annually - but concern was raised several years ago when it was feared the public could not use the path without permission of the Bawdsey estate.


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The county council has now confirmed there were no objections during a recent consultation and the footpath.

In 2002 an application was made for the path to be a public footpath. The county council's rights-of-way committee rejected this in 2004.

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An appeal was lodged and in 2006 a Government inspector ruled that it was a public footpath. This decision had to be advertised and, if there were any objections a public inquiry would be held.

Boat users spent more than £11,000 on their campaign. Most of the cost was borne by the Ramsholt Fairway Committee and there were also donations from the River Deben Association, yacht clubs and individual boat owners.

The campaigners collected 345 written statements from people who said they had always used the landing hard as a public right of way, with some of the evidence dating back to before 1939.

Robert Simper, chairman of Ramsholt Parish Meeting, led the campaign and he said: ''I am very pleased with the result.

“We are not talking about a long path but it was a matter of principle. There was a great deal of support, particularly from Ramsholt boat owners but also from all along the coast.

“I thought it would be a fairly obvious thing to have it recognised as a public path and the county council agreed at first. Then they changed their minds and said there was no evidence that the public had ever used it.”

Mr Simper said he used to cycle to Ramsholt Dock when he was a child from 1947. He later moored a dinghy there and he said he felt very strongly that this was a public landing.

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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