Controversial Ottery footpath bid rejected

A BID to divert and re-open a popular riverside walking route on Ottery s outskirts has been turned down.

A BID to divert and re-open a popular riverside walking route on Ottery's outskirts has been turned down.

The Planning Inspectorate rejected Devon County Council (DCC) proposals to modify footpath 46, which allowed walkers to travel along the eastern side of the River Otter between Wiggaton and Tipton St John.

Wiggaton couple Tim and Denise Overton battled plans that incorporated their land at Little Burcombe Farm for four years. They feared the diversion could devalue their home by �180,000.

A public enquiry was held by the Plannning Inspectorate over the matter in March.

Mr and Mrs Overton told the Herald they had endured "four and a half years of stress" and held concerns over their privacy and the threat of dogs to their livestock.

More than 40 letters were penned in support of re-opening the path, but inspector Helen Slade said she gave the correspondence "less weight" as residents did not say if they were in support of the route being diverted or just reinstated.

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In a detailed report, Mrs Slade said there was "clearly a desire on the part of the public to re-instate the footpath".

She concluded "serious detrimental effects" on the land to be crossed by the proposed right of way had been given "insufficient consideration" by DCC.

A council spokesperson told the Herald on Tuesday: "We are disappointed with the decision by the Planning Inspectorate and we are considering what options are available to us.