Row over barrier

John Chandler pictured next to the closed off section of Beech Lane which he says should be opened up as a roadway.'120807a.

John Chandler pictured next to the closed off section of Beech Lane which he says should be opened up as a roadway.'120807a.

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A WEST Ayton resident is opposing plans by the parish council to put up metal barriers at either end of Beech Lane.

John Chandler, of Pickering Road, says he believes the lane should be opened up as a roadway and says he has documents which show it is still legally a road.

However, representatives from West Ayton Parish Council insist that their actions are in accordance with the law and are backed by the vast majority of residents.

Mr Chandler, 54, lived in a property which backs on to the lane for 20 years and has been battling to have it reinstated as a vehicle-accesible road for the past seven years.

He said: “I believe that this is a road with access assigned to it for the public.

“My enquiries with the county council show that it still has a road number, yet there are signs up now saying it’s a footpath.”

He added: “Where do you start and where do you stop? What are they going to take next – bit of the garden?”

The piece of land in question runs behind a number of houses in Pickering Road, West Ayton, and backs on to the county council Highways Depot.

Mr Chandler says it has been a road since 1923 and believes that legally it still is.

However, representatives from West Ayton Parish Council say that following a following a lengthy and expensive process of litigation, it has been proven that the parish council is within its rights to do what it is doing.

Derwent Valley ward councillor Mick Jay-Hanmer said: “This was not taken lightly in the first place and has been proven legally.

“It’s not suitable for vehicular access and we will soon be going ahead with the metal barriers.”

Parish clerk Margaret Walker added: “We’ve tried to be as gentle as we can and given everybody the chance to communicate.

“The rest of the residents in Beech Lane don’t want the pathway opening up to vehicles and it’s been proven legally that we are not allowed to do that.

“We’ve sought advice from National Parks and we will be going ahead and putting a metal barrier at either end of the lane.

“It’s been approved by the parish council and no planning permission is needed. We have consulted with everybody about it.”

A quote has been given for the barriers, which has been accepted by the parish council.

Anyone wishing to see minutes from its recent meetings can go to www.westaytonparishcouncil