Tadcaster footpath inquiry now concluded

Action group members Bernard Walford, Patrick Tunney, and Linda Bould at the blocked off footpath in Tadcaster. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.
Action group members Bernard Walford, Patrick Tunney, and Linda Bould at the blocked off footpath in Tadcaster. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

The public inquiry into the possibility of reopening the Tadcaster footpath blocked by a wall three years ago has now concluded.

Yesterday (Wednesday, February 18) was the last day of the inquiry, with both parties sum ming up their cases.

Speaking to the Wetherby News, campaigner and action group member Patrick Tunney, who has been involved from the very beginning, said the only thing to do now is wait for the inspector’s decision.

He said: “We are still very confident of our case and of the quality evidence we have, as well as how our witnesses performed. We are quite proud of all of them.

“At this stage I really can’t say anything other than on the balance of things we are still ahead. There was a site meeting on Friday before the inquiry adjourned and that went well, so all in all I am confident about the eventual decision coming down in our favour.

“We haven’t been given any indicative date of when that will be, but I guess this one is going to take the inspector six to eight weeks to determine and life will go on without our footpath in the interim.”

The inquiry began on February 3 after campaigners who set up an action to reopen the footpath submitted applications to North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC).

The path, between Wighill Lane and the viaduct in Tadcaster, was used regularly by walkers, cyclists, and schoolchildren until it was blocked by a wall built by the landowners in February 2012.

The fight against the closure of the path, on land believed to be owned by Samuel Smith’s Brewery, was based on two criteria: the common law on the existence of a right of way and proof of 20 years’ use.

Both NYCC and Tadcaster town council have supported the campaign.

The Mayor of Tadcaster Coun Steven Cobb said: “The town council and I are very hopeful the inspector will order the path to be reopened.

“The action group couldn’t have done more to produce a compelling argument and I want to thank everyone who gave verbal evidence.

“We have become a divided town over this, but by far the majority is in favour of reopening what was a nice route to cross the river.”

Samuel Smith’s Brewery did not provide a comment.