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Elderly fear being cut off by footpath closure

Footpath next to old Kings Head Pub site due to close for 8 weeks. Ginny Heard, Phil Revis and Cherry Katharine. Pic Steve Robards

Footpath next to old Kings Head Pub site due to close for 8 weeks. Ginny Heard, Phil Revis and Cherry Katharine. Pic Steve Robards

Elderly residents living in sheltered accommodation in Burgess Hill fear they will be cut off from essential amenities if a public footpath remains closed for eight weeks.

Speaking on behalf of residents living in Sheddingdean Court, Phil Revis said: “This footpath is a lifeline for elderly people needing access to the bus stops, post box and shop in London Road.”

Residents in Bridge Close are also affected by the temporary closure of the public right of way, which runs alongside a development site where the former King’s Head pub used to be.

The footpath has been closed for eight weeks during part of the work to build two and three bedroomed homes on the site, which the developer, Hillreed Homes, calls ‘King’s Quarter’.

Hilda Andrews, aged 95, said: “I’ve got a walker and the shop in London Road is the nearest. It will be awful if they close the footpath for all this time.

“I won’t be able to do my shopping. I’ve got a daughter with a car and she will take me, but some people have no-one and they will be stranded.”

Mr Revis, together with district councillors Ginny Heard and Cherry Katharine (pictured) say there was no indication at the planning stage that access would be denied.

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said: “We are in conversation with the developer’s contractor to clarify how long the path has to be closed in the interests of public safety.”

Steve Bray, construction director for Hillreed Homes, said: “We regret the need to close the footpath temporarily, however it is a necessary precaution while we are building close to the boundary of the site in order to maintain public safety.

“Our planning team has consulted closely on this matter with county council officers, who have agreed an alternative route for pedestrians during the closure.

“We will endeavour to re-open the original route as soon as is safely possible, upon completion of the work for which we have planning consent.”

There is another shop in Leylands Road but it is accessed via a longer, alternative route.

Mr Revis said: “This footpath between Forge Way and Leylands Road is four times further and is too far and too steep for people with mobility problems.”

 

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