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Stinkpot Alley inquiry underway
RESIDENTS fighting for access to an area popular with dog walkers and families are putting forward their case for it to be made a right of way at a public inquiry that started today.
A row broke out last summer when Melanie Auchterlonie bought and fenced off a field which many local residents have used to access an area by the River Avon at Stratford-sub-Castle affectionately known as Stinkpot Alley.
In total 101 people submitted evidence of a path through the field being used for decades.
They made an application to Wiltshire Council for the route to be made a right of way.
Wiltshire Council’s southern area planning committee has supported the application and a public inquiry started at Salisbury Rugby Club on Tuesday with inspector Alison Lea from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs hearing evidence from both supporters and objectors. The council’s rights of way officer Sally Madgwick said they have evidence from people using the route as far back as 1945 and up to 2011.
The inquiry also heard the route had been used continuously throughout the last 20 years.
She said: “There can be no doubt that this is a very popular and heavily used route.
“This is an absolutely huge application by Wiltshire standards, it’s unusual to get more than 30 user evidence forms let alone this huge number.”
Several supporters gave evidence of their use of the route over the years. Paul Frankland said he had used it for birdwatching and dog walking since 1987. Nick Barnes said he and his wife had used the route regularly since 2003, but were aware of other people using it before that. The inquiry is expected to finish on Thursday and the inspector will also hear from objectors, including the owner of the field Melanie Auchterlonie, the owner of an adjoining field and Salisbury and District Angling Club.