We're in bitter row with neighbour stopping us from using footpath | The Sun

NEIGHBOURS have been on the warpath in an epic 18-year row after a landlord stopped residents from using a footpath.

Ellen Salton, 56, threw up "private property" signs on the path that leads into woodland in Tredomen, South Wales, in 2004.

For decades the path had been used by several local residents to access the bluebell woods – despite it being owned by Ms Salton.

Amongst them was neighbour Susan Smith, 74, who in 2017 applied to Caerphilly County Borough Council for the path to be made a public right of way.

Ms Smith claimed she had used the path as a child and it was the last one left to access the stunning woodland.

She told council officials: "We’re determined we don’t want to lose this footpath as we only have one left."

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Meanwhile another neighbour called Diana Tura slammed: "All the people in Tredomen just want to keep what we have, nothing more."

She added it was a place of sanctuary for her and others.

An application for a right of way on the path was first launched in 2005.

But that applicant left the area, so Ms Smith took on the role of chief objector – resubmitting the application in 2017.

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Then in a win for residents, the local authority declared in 2019 the path was open to the public under Section 53 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

But Ms Salton – who insists there has never been a clear path used by residents – appealed the decision and accused her neighbours of launching a "conspiracy" against her.

Andy Dunlop, representing Ms Salton, blasted the council for not carrying out a "proper investigation" before the path was declared a new public right of way in 2019.

He reckons the path would not have been made public if the matter had been correctly looked into.

A planning inquiry by Planning and Environment Decisions Wales is now ongoing to determine whether the path can remain open to the public.

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As the appeals process is ongoing, the path has been closed for the last four years leaving residents barred from walking to the woods.

Janine Townsley, the local planning inspector, must now decide if the path was used for at least 20 years prior to 2002 without "force, secrecy or permission".

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