Popular footpath in Northampton set to reopen soon after it was closed off without warning two months ago
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A popular footpath in Northampton which was fenced off without warning two months ago is set to reopen soon.
The footpath at the junction of Cattle Market Road and Bridge Street, used by hundreds everyday, was closed off by the landowner on Friday, September 22, causing public outcry.
It is believed the landowner fenced off the site in response to plans being rejected by West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) to convert the location into a retail store.
It was previously revealed that the now defunct Northampton Borough Council previously sold off the land, which also included the contested footpath.
A WNC spokeswoman told this newspaper on Tuesday (November 28) that an agreement to reopen the footpath soon has been reached.
The spokeswoman said: “WNC has reached an agreement to purchase land from the current owner of it. It is expected the fencing will be removed soon, allowing the public to resume walking and cycling along the riverside path. The council will share further details once the relevant legal processes are complete.”
Independent councillor Julie Davenport (Rushmere and Delapre ward) has been pushing to get the site reopened as soon as possible for residents in her ward. She has gone as far as starting a petition, garnering 1,700 signatures in support of the cause.
Councillor Davenport said: “I am so very happy to hear this news. A big thank you to all involved. I would especially like to thank everyone who has signed the petition and everyone who has taken the time to write to me with proof that the path has been used from 1761.
"People power and the power of the Northampton Chronicle and BBC Radio Northampton, who have highlighted this issue to those in power, has shown, once again, that the public will always fight for their rights.
"Mistakes may have been made with the original sale, but the WNC has remedied those to ensure everyone is happy with the result. I’m thankful that councillor Jonathan Nunn and councillor Phil Larratt were determined to do the right thing for the people of West Northants."
The landowner previously told this newspaper on November 16 that a deal was close to being struck. He said: "Yes, the deal is nearing completion, and it will be reopened as soon as possible. [WNC] they are making every effort to resolve it, and we are thrilled to see it completed and resolved soon."