Reinstated Thorley footpaths on St James' Park estate at Stortford South in a 'very different landscape' to before
Two footpaths in the middle of a new housing development in Thorley have finally been reinstated and reopened – although campaigners say they are now in a landscape very different to that of a year ago.
Countryside Properties, which is building a new estate at St James' Park off Whittington Way, was granted temporary traffic regulation orders (TTROs) to close footpaths 1 and 3 on November 2, 2020, originally for 12 weeks.
But the footpaths remained closed, much to the annoyance of residents and campaigners. The developer was given an extension until November 2 this year but was warned failure to comply could lead to an enforcement notice.
Dave Webber, from Bishop's Stortford Footpaths Association, reported the news on the group's Facebook page that "after a series of missed deadlines and broken promises" the paths had been reopened.
"This morning, accompanied by local [parish] councillor and long-standing Thorley Street resident Janet Rolfe, we checked out the footpaths," said Dave. "We entered a very different landscape from the one we left 12 months ago.
"The field contours have been dramatically reconfigured and new balancing ponds dot the landscape. It now presents a very different walk to the one that Janet knew over 80 years ago.
"The footpaths themselves now run through a corridor of temporary Heras-type fencing and are approximately two metres wide."
Dave further reported that the surface was "satisfactory, given the conditions, and offered no major obstacles".
In a statement to the Indie announcing Countryside was aiming to reopen the footpaths "at the earliest possibility", the developer added: "We would like to thank the local community for their patience and understanding while these works are under way."