By Ben Stevens
Leicester City Council will commence action this month to ensure a highly used footpath is reopened for the public to use.
The route in question is a 420m section of path that links Victoria Park Road with University Road in the vicinity of the University of Leicester.
The path directly goes through the middle of the campus of Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I College at the southern end of the university site.
The council says it received an application from a group of people in February 2021 who frequently used the path requesting that they designate the footpath as a public right of way.
This can be done under Section 31 of the Highways Act 1980 which states that any pathway can be made a public highway if it has been used continuously for 20 years by the public without interruption.
Having heard the arguments and received evidence from both sides, the council has decided that the legal process to make the path a public right of way will begin in December.
Clarendon Park resident Leanne Michaels, 40, who frequently used the path before the gates shut, said: “I’m pleased that the council is trying to reopen the path for everybody to use.
“Whilst I appreciate that the path and the land it is on belongs to the college, it inconvenienced everybody when they shut it.
“It’s quite an important footpath so I hope that everyone sees sense so that it can reopen again soon.”
The college has argued that the path hasn’t been ‘open without interruption’ for the last 20 years and has in fact been shut numerous times for repair and maintenance work.
In this event, the footpath would not meet the criteria of being a public highway and the college would have the right to keep the path shut for as long as they please.
More information is available at: https://news.leicester.gov.uk/news-articles/2022/november/council-backs-public-s-right-to-access-footpath/