Residents Urged to Help Preserve Historic Foothpath

A walking group is encouraging Henley residents to help in the long-running fight to keep a stretch of Paradise Road, a popular local footpath, open to the public.

The section of road concerned is 177 metres of residential street running towards the south west from Deanfield Avenue to Lower Lodge, where it joins the public footpath (Henley 29) which leads out to join the whole footpath network in the countryside to the west.

A request from Henley and Goring Ramblers to add the footpath to the map of Public Rights of Way was turned down last year by Oxfordshire County Council, the planning authority.  In January this year, the group won their appeal against the earlier decision, and the Council was directed by the Planning Inspectorate, the appeal authority, to make the order for the path, to ensure that it would remain accessible to walkers in perpetuity.

However, the walking group says additional support from local residents will be needed to strengthen the evidence already collected in case there are objections. Regular use of the path is central to the argument for making it a right of way.

Carolyn Maunder, who was Footpaths Secretary for Henley and Goring Ramblers when the original submission was made, and John Case, her successor in the role, have been leading the fight to keep the footpath open to the public. Both are Henley residents.

Carolyn said “I have personally used the footpath for many years. It is an important walking route, linking the centre of town to a network of public footpaths that lead into the beautiful countryside that surrounds Henley. It also provides people who live in the surrounding areas, such as Highlands Park, an easy walking route into town”.

“My original submission to add Paradise Road as a public footpath was made way back in 2010. It has taken a long time to get to this point and I’m delighted that we won our appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, but the fight isn’t over yet”.

John said “It’s important we have written statements from local residents who use or have used the path regularly in the past. We are very keen to hear from anyone who has”.

“From the user evidence so far we think a lot of people use the path for a whole range of reasons. We’d like to know more about why they use the route regularly, whether it’s for leisure, getting from town to the Sports Centre, jogging or hiking, or everyday activities such as getting to work, shopping or walking the dog. We need this information to support our case for continued use, now and into the future.”

Please contact John or Carolyn directly if you want to give evidence or find out more.

John Case – johngcase@tiscali.co.uk   or ring 07796953242

Carolyn Maunder – carolynmaunder85@gmail.com or ring 01491 573722

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