Sudbury: Anger at closure of decades-old alleyway on ‘safety’ grounds

John Sayers and Mary Roberts are pictured at Footpath 11 in Sudbury which has been closed.

John Sayers and Mary Roberts are pictured at Footpath 11 in Sudbury which has been closed. - Credit: Archant

The closure of a well-used public footpath on health and safety grounds has angered people who have trodden it for nearly half a century.

The alleyway, which joins Newton and Cornard roads in Sudbury, is a popular cut-through for pedestrians walking to the Sainsbury’s supermarket, or from the train station to the industrial area.

Around six weeks ago the county council closed the path temporarily for repairs, due to concerns about safety.

But heavy metal gates have now been installed preventing people from using it, and those living nearby fear it will be closed permanently.

Roger Malyon, who runs a garage on Windam Road, said: “I am 61 years old and have been using that path for nearly 50 years with getting injured – and during that time, I can never remember it being closed.

“There is a bank either side where children have played for years without getting injured and if you’re sensible you won’t come to any harm.

“People who used it when they cut through from the station now have to use Ingrams Well Road instead and there is no path there at all so it’s much more hazardous.

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“It does seem like health and safety gone mad.”

Local councillor John Sayers, who has also used the pathway for decades, is trying to persuade the county council to pay what is required to get it fixed and open again.

He said: “It’s a really old alleyway that has been used for half a century. They can’t just close it down.”

Last night, a spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “While carrying out recent improvement works, there were concerns raised about the stability of the ground carrying the path in this somewhat unique location.

“In light of these concerns, we have had to temporarily close the path to ensure public safety is upheld – this being our No. 1 priority.”

He said the council had erected “more substantial gates” to prevent further use, adding: “The closure will allow us to seek further expert direction on what action can be taken in the long term.

“We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause, however we urge the public to heed the closure to ensure their safety.”