Riverside footpath finally opens following years of negotiations

Sudbury mayor Sue Ayres (centre with chain) and parish, and district councillors Margaret Maybury an

Sudbury mayor Sue Ayres (centre with chain) and parish, and district councillors Margaret Maybury and Jan Osborne (right) with family members of Peter Berry Picture: BABERGH DISTRICT COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

The long-awaited River Stour footpath between Great Cornard and Sudbury has finally opened after a legal dispute which lasted for more than a decade.

The plaque at the footpath Picture: BABERGH DISTRICT COUNCIL

The plaque at the footpath Picture: BABERGH DISTRICT COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

The idea of a continuous riverside walk linking Sudbury Common Lands with the Cornard Lock and vistor centre at Bakers Mill in Great Cornard was first devised more than 25 years ago by Babergh District Council.

Permission for a proposed footbridge over a ditch close to the River Stour was agreed in 2011, but the land on one side of the ditch was owned by Sudbury and Long Melford Angling Association.

Following years of negotiations, Babergh finally completed the purchase of a section of land in Great Cornard that will link the parish to Sudbury via a Stour-side footpath in May.

Jan Osborne, Babergh deputy leader, Tina Campbell, Babergh cabinet member for environment, and district, town and parish councillors attended the ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday.

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The path was dedicated to former Babergh District Counci countryside officer Peter Berry, who died in 2009 and was instrumental in forming the original plans for the footpath.

Members of his family attended the ribbon cutting and Mr Berry’s son Tom officially unveiled a plaque at the ceremony.

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The newly completed path provides an extension of the existing Cornard Riverside Path, allowing residents and visitors to enjoy more of the riverbank as well as providing pedestrian access to the River Stour Trust’s Visitor and Education Centre at Dovehouse Meadow.

The path forms a pedestrian route of Dovehouse Meadow in Great Cornard to the Cornard Riverside Path.

Mrs Osborne said: “It’s been a dream of mine to see this path open, and I know many others shared that dream; to see the ribbon cut and the first walkers stroll alongside the Stour was a truly wonderful moment.

“It has taken a lot of hard work, but I know residents and visitors who use this path will feel it has all been worth it.”

Mrs Campbell said: “It was a privilege to be able to share this moment with Peter Berry’s family.

“Peter’s hard work, both as a Babergh officer and as chairman of the Sudbury Riverside Group, demonstrated just how determined people were to see this path opened, and it shows their hard work has paid off in full.”

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