'We have used this land for decades': Fulwood residents met with trespass signs at popular footpath site

Residents of Glencourse Drive and Eastway, in Fulwood, were met with fencing and signs branding a popular footpath near their homes as 'private property'.

Wednesday, 4th November 2020, 4:43 pm
Lib Dem councillor Deborah Shannon opposes the fencing

The land, that runs adjacent with Eastway and is bisected by Glencourse Drive has been a popular walkway with locals for years and is often used as a shortcut to Woodland Trust park Sandybrook.

The area of land can also be accessed via a wooden gate just off Watling Street Road directly opposite the junction of Carleton Avenue.

But walkers have now suddenly been met with wire fencing covered in signs warning them not to trespass on the land.

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The hill, popular with locals for sledging in winter, has also been blocked off with fencing and signs

Deborah Shannon, a Liberal Democrat councillor for Cadley, said the pathway has been popular with locals since she moved to the area in the 1980s.

She said: "Briefly, on a Wednesday morning my family were taking our dog for her usual morning walk and discovered the footpath was suddenly blocked off by developers. The land has been in private hands since being sold many years ago.

"Many, many other local people have used this pathway for a long time without hindrance to get to Sandybrook, which is managed by the Woodland Trust.

"I have certainly used the path since my parents moved here in 1981. As well as dog walkers and joggers, the other reason it is special is that the pathway goes to the hill above the Sandybrook which has been used for generations as a sledging hill. I remember doing this when I was at school in the 1980's."

The entrance to the land off Glencourse Drive has also been shut off from public use

"I’m not sure we can save the hill but we want to save the footpath that leads down to the Sandybrook."

The Post understands that the area was sold to building and decorating company BEM Builders, based down south at St Leonards-on-Sea, in 2018, according to the land registry.

However, Preston City Council confirmed that there have not been any applications for any proposed development on the land.

If one was submitted, they confirmed that adjoining neighbours would then be notified as per their planning policy.

And on the Preston Council local map service, the land in question is marked as ‘green infrastructure’, meaning any applications submitted would have to be assessed against both national and local planning policies, together with consultation responses.

The fencing and signs were first erected on October 13 and have been repeatedly moved by locals ever since, who claim that the land is a 'public right of way' and cannot therefore be blocked off.

In a Facebook post shared to a Fulwood group, local residents expressed concern that more green land would be lost for 'yet more houses'.

Others pleaded for action commenting 'we have used this footpath for over 25 years'.

Deborah, along with her neighbours, is planning to submit an application for a designated footpath to be included in the map, in order to keep access to the Sandybrook for local people.

She said: "We need as many people as possible who have used the pathway for over 20 years to help us by signing the application and would like people to get in touch. We have used this land for decades and it is so important to local people.

"A building company based down south probably don't know how much it means to local people and how often it is used by dog walkers, people having picnics and walkers. It means a lot to our community."

Ex-Ingol councillor Bill Shannon is also working to get Lancashire County Council to adopt the footpaths across the site and has instructed signs of his own claiming the landowners, BEM Builders 'have no right to block a public right of way'.

He is now urging local people to support the footpath adoption by filling out user evidence statements.

The Post attempted to contact BEM Builders on multiple occasions but did not receive a response.

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