Footpath decision frustrates community plans

26 May 2015

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The Planning Inspectorate has refused to allow the diversion of a public footpath as part of the Horsell Civic Space project.

The project, which has seen the refurbishment and extension of Horsell Village Hall, the building of a new Scout Hall and the refurbishment of the Institute Building in Horsell by Woking Borough Council and Thameswey, had planned to divert the footpath to improve access for residents through Queen Elizabeth Gardens, as part of a wider landscaping exercise. However following a challenge to the footpath move by a member of the public the order has been refused.

Cllr Beryl Hunwicks, Borough Councillor for Horsell West Ward, said: “It is a great shame that this order, which was supported by the wider community and the local community groups who use the Horsell Village Hall, Bowls Club and Scout Hall, has been refused.

“However, now the process has come to an end we will continue with the project and finish the landscaping to Queen Elizabeth Gardens. The work we had proposed is still the right thing to do and I have asked Council officers to complete as much of the scheme as they can as quickly as possible.”

Cllr Colin Kemp, Borough Councillor for Horsell West, added: “It has been frustrating that the project has been delayed for the best part of a year by this process as the Council was unable to finish the project while the Planning Inspectorate was dealing with the one objection.

“In light of the decision, we will now work to progress completion of the scheme as quickly as possible. There will be a small loss of parking and an increased community safety issue caused by leaving the existing path but otherwise we can still achieve the wider community objectives of our project. It is now important for Queen Elizabeth Gardens to be completed as a matter of urgency and returned for the benefit of local residents.”