Footpath plea

SIR - I have some questions (and answers) for Councillor Sheila Kerridge about the public footpath through Sidmouth’s planned retirement community at Parsons Yard (Sidmouth Herald, November 25).

Has Councillor Kerridge walked this footpath? It is a safe and convenient short-cut to the centre of Sidmouth, going between Mill Street (near the ford) and Holmdale, and is open for business as usual. It is legally a public right of way, and has been recorded as such because the public have used it freely for upward of twenty years. The diversion is less direct, less convenient, and less safe.

Has Councillor Kerridge walked the pavements of Sidmouth?

Are they all fit for wheelchairs and pushchairs, for the elderly and the disabled? Are they all perfectly flat and neatly tarmacked? Is Mrs Kerridge suggesting they should be dug up, widened and resurfaced? To make them “fit for purpose”?

We’d all agree that is totally unnecessary.

Changing the Parsons Yard footpath just so the small community in Mill Gardens can lock its gate to stop people walking through is also totally unnecessary.

Councillor Newth is quite right. This development – without its locked gate - is excellent use of a derelict site.

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It is ironic that this whole expensive kerfuffle was caused in the first place two years ago by another locked gate – the one put across the footpath in Holmdale to try to stop the public walking through the middle of Parsons Yard!

A local walker

(Name and address supplied)