Controvery surrounds a planning application to build a single storey house in Little Driffield after an access path to the site was blocked by a gate at one end and a barrier at the other.
Town councillors have objected to the scheme to build on land north of 21 And 23 York Road Little Driffield, as the village has not been earmarked for further development in the forthcoming Local Plan and because the proposals directly affect what they claim is a public footpath which has been in existence since 1840, providing an access between Back Lane and York Road.
“This footpath must be maintained and access retained,” the town council said during consultations.
Villagers have also objected to the scheme by Mr and Mrs L H Benson, but the planning authority, the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “According to our current records, there are no public rights of way crossing on the property along the eastern edge of 21 York Road leading northwards to Back Lane. We have no evidence or knowledge of any claim that this route should be added to the definitive map. However, should any evidence be found in the future, the route may be added to the Definitive Map.”
Town councillor Steve Poessl said: “It’s a backyard development but not only that. Since 1840 there has been a footpath which runs between them and the next door neighbours, where he wants to build a house.
“Unfortunately, there are no full record at the East Riding but on the land registry it quite clearly shows that there is a parcel of land which runs between him and his next door neighbours where he wants to build the house.
“The neighbours around there are really concerned because that is the only way from the back lane to the front main street bus stop, because when you go down side of the Horsefair lane where the factory used to be there is now no footpath at either side of the road.
They used to use that to go from the back of their houses, across the main street to catch the bus.”
Coun Poessl said: “These people have been using this access for years. I feel sorry for these people.”
Villagers Leon and Shirley Addy have objected to the planning application as the new property would overlook their home. They said a public path had existed since 1840 and added: “Mr and Mrs Benson clearly do not own this public right of way but appear to have claimed the land by erecting a gate to the Back Lane end and a barrier to the York Road end, thus closing the footpath to the general public.”
Another neighbour said: “A very big concern of mine if the fact that there is a right of way across this land from York Road to Back Lane. It is and I understand always will be a right of way so needs to be looked into.”
And a third neighbour said: “This would compromise the footpath from York Road to back Lane and affect the privacy of other properties.”
Town clerk Claire Binnington said that the planning authority, East Riding of Yorkshire Council has said that the people who are affected by the footpath issue should put their case together to have the footpath acknowledged and it would be considered.
A spokesman for ERYC said: “As for someone putting up a gate, as things stand this is a private not a council matter.
“However the outline planning application is still out to consultation with a decision expected at end of March and all views and comments will be taken into account.”
The applicants were unavailable for comment as the Driffield Times and Post went to press.