Ramblers to walk through man’s garden

PATH PROBLEMS Ian Bragg (D523E338)
PATH PROBLEMS Ian Bragg (D523E338)

A man has until Thursday to clear his garden to allow a public footpath to run through it.

Ian Bragg, of Hey Beck Lane, Woodkirk, was astounded when Kirklees Council told him the footpath – which will run diagonally through his garden and driveway – is to be reinstated.

A letter from the council gave Mr Bragg one month’s notice to remove obstructions to the path, including his garden fence, a wall, electric gate and a set of steps.

The 63-year-old and his wife, Monica, have hired a solicitor to try and fight the council’s enforcement notices and fear for their land, which includes their home and a bungalow built next door.

The footpath will run between the two properties and Mr Bragg said the alterations could add up to £20,000.

“I haven’t done anything wrong, that’s the worst part of it,” he said.

“People will be looking in the window, seeing what I’m having for my breakfast.

“I’ve got three grandchildren that play in the garden, would you let them play out with people they don’t know walking along the path?”

Mr Bragg said he was unaware of the footpath’s route through his land until he received the letter, and disputes the council’s record of the route.

For several years, the public right of way was diverted through a small field behind Mr Bragg’s home, across land owned by neighbour Rod Lilley. Mr Lilley said the path should have never run across the middle of his field and he was fed up of ramblers using the wrong route.

“It was not the definitive route. The path is going back to its rightful position.”

A spokeswoman for Kirklees Council said: “The council has received reports from members of the public about obstructions to public footpaths off Hey Beck Lane.

“We have been working directly with affected landowners and their representatives for some months to find an appropriate solution.

“Unfortunately, this has not been possible, so the council has served formal notice with a view to remove the obstructions. Public paths cannot simply be moved by obstructing them and this matter shows how important it is that people check and consider the location of any public footpaths before purchasing property or undertaking any works that may affect them.

“While we have been in detailed discussion with Mr Bragg and his solicitors, they have been unable to provide evidence that the formal route of the public footpath lies elsewhere than across Mr Bragg’s land.

“Further, for his 2011 planning application for the development of a bungalow, Mr Bragg submitted plans showing the formal line of footpath 49 over his land.”