This letter sent by Mike Temple, was published in today’s Sidmouth Herald (06/11/2015):
‘In 2012 a local resident and I, hearing that the Council intended to sell off much of Knowle’s public park and gardens for private housing, applied to register rights of way into the public gardens, fearing that access might be denied.
The government Inspector has now ruled that, because the public has used these access paths “by right” (not “as of right”), legal public rights of way” into the park cannot be established. The result is that there is now no legal guarantee that the public will be able to access the public park as the land concerned will belong to the private developer, PegasusLife. The latter have said they will allow “permissive” paths into the park but what if those who buy the retirement homes object? Will Knowle become a private estate like The Laurels? It is also interesting to see that PegasusLife have drilled for soil samples well down the lawned terraces, presumably because they hope to build there, across the footpaths claimed by the public.
One is also forced to ask why EDDC spent so much Council Tax payers’ money hiring an expensive London planning barrister to stop legal rights of way into a public park. Is this yet another example of a Council serving the interests of private developers rather than the needs of the community?’
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