Landlord who closed off popular footpath in Northampton rejects council's £74k offer to buy back land
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A landlord who has closed off a popular footpath in Northampton says he has rejected a £74,000 bid from the council to buy back the land.
The footpath at the junction of Cattle Market Road and Bridge Street, Cotton End has been closed off for nearly a month after it was fenced off without warning on Friday, September 22 by the landowner.
It is believed the reason for the closure was because of a dispute between the landowner and West Northants Council (WNC) about a planning application being rejected to turn the site into a retail unit.
WNC and the land owner have since been in talks to resolve the issue. And the landowner has revealed WNC has had an offer of £74k rejected.
Speaking to Chron and Echo, the landowner said: “We didn't get the offer that we asked for. It's cost us about £85,000, and we got [offered] £74,000 money back. We haven't taken the offer.
"It's private land and we are happy to wait for the time to get it resolved.
“The council should work on the planning application. It [the land] can be good for good business as a bike shop or a coffee shop. Or we get the money back in full and they [can] keep it open."
WNC confirmed that is has offered to buy either the entire site, including the former public toilets, or solely the footpath and adjoining open land. It did not disclose how much money has been offered.
A WNC spokeswoman said: "The council was concerned about the closure of the riverside path at South Bridge and therefore contacted the owners to see if a solution could be reached. We understand the owners were struggling with aspects of managing the site, whilst they sought a productive future for it. If either offer is accepted, the path will be re-opened."
Independent councillor Julie Davenport (Delapre and Rushmere ward) has also been fighting to get the footpath reopened for residents.
Councillor Davenport said: “I have been very impressed with the council’s reaction and its determination to act in the public interest. I do hope that the owner of the land will see the benefits of opening the pathway now rather than later for the benefit of his intended business in the area.”
The councillor is urging residents to send her evidence that the footpath has been a public right of way for more than 20 years and to sign her petition to reopen the site, which has garnered 1,700 signatures so far.
Councillor Davenport said: “I will be making an application to modify the definitive map in order to protect the footpath as a public right of way into perpetuity for the benefit of walkers, commuters, cyclists and the boating community visiting the area.
"I would appreciate it if anyone with any evidence, personal witness statements or documented maps etc could send the evidence to me at: [email protected]
“I have received evidence of maps from the 1930s showing that this pathway was used unhindered as a public route.”