Controversial footpath work is approved

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Controversial work to restore a public footpath in New Mills has been approved by councillors.

Derbyshire County Council’s application, to excavate and rebuild retaining walls and to restore the level of footpath 84 at Noon Sun Farm on Brook Bottom Road, was given the go-ahead at a meeting of High Peak Borough Council’s (HPBC) Development Control Committee on Monday.

The work will also mean the removal of a flight of concrete steps between Noon Sun Farm and Noon Sun Cottages, the removal of a wooden gate and gateposts and the removal and rebuilding of a retaining wall.

Work on the access road to Noon Sun Farm, which is also the route of footpath 84, started in 2002 but some of it was without planning permission. An enforcement notice requiring the removal of a parking area next to Brook Bottom Road and the reinstatement of the land to its former condition was issued and complied with. A retrospective application for some of the work was then approved in 2003 but no retrospective permission was sought for the steps, walls or gate. The borough council took no action but the work also required the consent of Derbyshire County Council (DCC), who also agreed not to take action. However a resident in one of the adjacent cottages pursued a case against the county council to have the path restored to its former condition and a court order is now in place, requiring the footpath to be reinstated by July.

Speaking at the meeting, Mrs Broughton-Law of Noon Sun Farm, said: “The first I knew of this was when I actually bought the house after all the work had been done.

“This is an eight year battle which has been going on and has not been a nice situation to be in.

“DCC have told me I have to pay £110,000 for this work to be done. This will result in me losing my home which I have worked very, very hard for.”

And Councillor Lance Dowson, who spoke as the New Mills ward member, said: “DCC have acted ridiculously on this. Questions need to be asked about how much this is costing the rate payer.

“This should not have been allowed to happen. DCC have dragged their feet and cost rate payers a fortune and cost individuals a fortune.”