Keep walking!

Following the Mendip Planning Board meeting (17 Feb) which expressed concern about the potential loss of the Wallbridge Adderwell Path, the landowners (the Sutton family) have partially removed the barrier at the Retreat end of the path. A new notice says “Private Property: Landowner permission granted for foot traffic only”. This is most welcome news for the many walkers who enjoy this path.

Lola examines the new arrangements The Retreat 26 February 2021.

The barriers at the Adderwell end of the path remain (although they do not prevent access). Frome Town Council are requesting a meeting with the owners to discuss the Public Right of Way claim.

A step forward

The controversial planning application which would lead to the loss of the riverside path was deferred last night by Mendip Planning Board until the applicants, Family Sutton Solutions, obtain retrospective planning permission for the unauthorized demolition of a barn. This demolition infringes an earlier planning condition. The have also damaged a neighbor’s property and bulldozed the fragile wetland area, but these issues were not part of the decision.

What’s left of the barn

During the two-hour discussion many members of the Planning Board expressed concerns about the potential loss of the path and the fact that FSS had obstructed it. Several Councillors suggested imposing additional planning conditions to require the path , but in the event these were not necessary since the application was deferred.

This does not resolve the issue of the path, but it sends a powerful signal to FSS of the strength of local opposition to their attempt to privatise the riverbank. They must now realise that their existing plans are unlikely to receive approval without conceding that the access to the river is a crucial planning issue in this case.

The path and the development can happily co-exist

A new illustration shows the path and the development superimposed on an aerial photograph shows that the path does affect the development

The gardens of the new houses are not allowed to extend all the way to the river and are shown several metres back (red line above). Families with children will want to have a fence at the bottom of their garden for safety reasons, especially since the river floods in this area.

We see no reason why the existing route of the path should not be retained between gardens and the river.