The status of the paths through the Knowle parkland has been disputed for some time:
Futures Forum: Public Rights of Way through Knowle: public hearing due
Two years ago, it seemed that a right of way would be granted:
Inspector sides with residents in Knowle footpath battle - News - Sidmouth Herald
However, the Inspector has now allowed the District Council's appeal.
This is from the latest Express & Echo:
Inspector rejects moves to register public footpaths in East Devon
By Exeter Express and Echo | Posted: October 29, 2015
Moves to register public footpaths across the grounds of East Devon District Council’s headquarters at the Knowle in Sidmouth, have been rejected by a government-appointed inspector.
The decision has been welcomed by the council and follows a protracted legal process stretching back more than three years.
Two applications were made in 2012 by local residents to register a number of footpaths across parts of the Knowle under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
Devon County Council, who is responsible for public rights of way, rejected the applications but an appeal was made to the Planning Inspectorate against the decision.
After various legal appeal processes, Martin Elliott, the inspector, has agreed with the district council that no order should be made to dedicate any of the claimed routes as public rights of way. This was on the basis that their use was ‘by right’ as the use of the whole of the Knowle is regulated by byelaws.
Mark Williams, Chief Executive of East Devon District Council, said: “Given the criticism the council was subject to following the initial appeal decision, the council is pleased that its position on this matter has been vindicated following the determination by the inspector.
“Whilst I fully understand the sensitivity of the matter, the fact remains that public access to the Knowle pleasure grounds is by virtue of the byelaws rather than acquired legal rights.”
Inspector rejects moves to register public footpaths in East Devon | Exeter Express and Echo
This is from the Herald:
Breaking news & sport in Sidmouth | Sidmouth Herald