Campaigners welcome call for ‘urgent site visit’ in long-running footpath row

Campaigners keep up the fight for footpath in Llangoed – LR Gareth Phillips, Rhun ap Iorwerth and Dr Nick Stuart. Image: Rhun ap Iorwerth office

Campaigners have hailed as “encouraging” and “positive” news that a long running dispute over the right to use a footpath on Ynys Môn – which they claim has been used for generations – is being heard in Cardiff.

The row is over a route which runs from the back of the 11th Century motte and bailey Aberlleiniog Castle, at Llangoed, to a gate near to the Lleiniog Barns residential and holiday home development, close to the shore at Lleiniog.

Dispute

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS – the Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn – recently met with the villagers to discuss the issue.

He has also written to the Welsh Government’s Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW) calling for an “urgent” site visit so it can “reach a more informed final decision” on the path’s future status.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that an official from PEDW had confirmed to him that a site visit will take place before any final decision is reached.

The dispute started about three years ago when the gate leading to the popular route was padlocked.

Campaigners-welcome-call-for-urgent-site

Legal case

Retired doctor Nick Stuart had made a legal case on behalf of villagers with support from retired health professional and local campaigner Gareth Phillips.

They and a group of friends had collated evidence from residents, including a number of elderly citizens, to attempt to prove that the path had been walked by locals and visitors for decades.

The route leads from the back of the castle and down towards the beach and shore road at Lleiniog. The campaigners also believe it could have been used as part of an ancient route linking to a lime kiln.

They claim the pathway was used far longer than the minimum 20-year period required for a right of way to be deemed a public footpath.

Months of wrangling saw applications and appeals made, including a refused bid to Anglesey County Council to establish a Definitive Map Modification Order.

But, determined, the campaigners have taken the matter to appeal in Cardiff and called in the island’s Senedd member for help.

“Strong case”

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, the Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn, said: “It was great to meet with Gareth and Nick to see for myself the footpath they’ve been fighting to protect for the community.

‘While these disputes can be a complicated matter, from the visual evidence I’ve seen, it’s clear that there’s a strong case to be made that this path has been well-used by the community for many, many years.

‘I’m glad that officials from Planning and Environment Decisions Wales, who have the responsibility of reaching a final decision, have agreed, following my correspondence with them, to conduct an urgent site visit to see the evidence for themselves.”

Nick Stuart on behalf of the campaigners said: “The petitioners for this path are encouraged by the response, and would be happy to accompany any site visits that may be required. ”

Gareth Phillips said it was “positive news” and added “if the application to approve the status of this track as a public footpath is successful we will encourage respect for the land and the use of the Countryside Code to ensure there is minimum or no impact on the land.”

PEDW was contacted for comment


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