Government to decide the fate of Felpham footpaths

Central government is set to decide whether three disputed footpaths neart the Aldingbourne Rifes will be recognised as public rights of way.

Plans to to add three footpaths across fields in Felpham to public rights of way maps were disrupted after West Sussex County Council received an objection to the proposals during a six- week public consultation process.

As a result, the fate of the three footpaths will now be decided by the planning inspectorate.

The process began in September, when members of the action group delivered more than 70 evidence forms to West Sussex County Council, documenting the use of the three paths by members of the public.

Angry residents

The first of the three paths starts at Brooks Lane and runs across the fields north-east to Downview School. The second goes south-east to the Arun Leisure Centre and the third follows the main field, following the route of the stream.

Residents and members of the Save Aldingbourne Rife Action Group say the paths have been in use for more than 70 years

“They are used to get to and from the Brooks Lane area in the Glenwood Housing Estate to places like the Downview Primary School, Felpham College and the leisure centre,” a spokesperson said.

“They are also important locally for trips to and from Bognor Regis town area and the Felpham environs for work, leisure and recreational purposes.”

During a meeting of the county council’s planning and rights committee in October last year, members were told the original application was received in May 2019, with the support of 107 people who use the paths.

It was also supported by Liberal Democrat councillor Francis Oppler, representing Bognor Regis East for Arun District Council, and Conservative councillor John Charles, representing Felpham.

A joint objection from nine landlords opposed the north-eastern part of the route and Richard Brooks, another landowner, filed an independent objection prior to last year’s meeting.

A report given to the committee during last year’s meeting explained: “Mr Brooks states that, each year, the application routes which cross his land are muddy, rotted and covered in blackberry bushes.”