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Neighbours fight for access to footpath along woods after landowner put up 'private property' sign

Neighbors fight for access to the trail along Bluebell Woods after the owner put up a ‘private property’ sign to stop people crossing it

  • Ellen Salton has been vying for signs in Tredomen, South Wales since 2004
  • Neighbor Susan Smith is fighting to have the path declared a public right of way
  • The path is used by a number of local residents to access a popular local wood
  • Local authority Caerphilly County Borough Council sided with Ms Smith in 2019
  • But Ms Salton has appealed the decision and insists there is a ‘conspiracy’ against her

Warring neighbors have been locked in an 18-year battle over a footpath after a landowner put up ‘private property’ signs to deter walkers from using it.

Ellen Salton, 56, has been involved in a row since signs were erected to prevent local residents from accessing a popular woodland in Tredomen, near Hengoed, South Wales, in 2004.

But her neighbor Susan Smith, 74, applied to Caerphilly County Borough Council in 2019 for the footpath to be declared a public right of way after using it as a girl to access bluebell woods.

She told council officials: ‘We are determined not to lose this trail because we only have one left.

A right of way claim was first made in 2005, only to be resubmitted by Ms Smith in 2017 when the original claimant left the area.

The local authority then declared it a new public right of way in 2019 under section 53 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

But Ms Salton has appealed the decision and insists there is a ‘conspiracy’ against her.

A planning inquiry is currently underway to determine if the path can remain open to the public.

Local residents gather to show their support for Tredomen Road, near Hengoed, South Wales, remaining a public right of way

The trail leads to a popular local bluebell wood which is regularly used by local residents of the area

The local council declared the path a new public right of way in 2019 under Section 53 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

Neighbor Diana Tura said the forest the path leads to is an area she describes as her “sanctuary”.

She said: “All the people of Tredomen just want to keep what we have, nothing more.”

A survey by Planning and Environment Decisions Wales has just been launched.

But Ms Salton insists there is no clear path that has ever been used by local residents.

Andy Dunlop, representing Ms Salton, said a ‘proper investigation’ was not carried out before the council declared it a new public right of way in 2019.

He argues: ‘This order should not have been issued if a proper investigation had taken place.’

Town Planning Inspector Janine Townsley must now decide whether the path was used for at least 20 years before 2002 without ‘force, secrecy or permission’.

The lane has been closed for four years while the appeal process is ongoing.

A decision will now be taken by the authorities after investigation.

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