Locked gate leads to row about whether footpath is a right of way

A ROW has broken out over whether a footpath running through the grounds of a Todmorden brasserie is a public right of way.

Todmorden town councillor Frank McManus spotted that the footpath which runs through the grounds of the Todmorden Vintner was inaccessible on Bank Holiday Monday, May 30, due to a locked gate.

Coun McManus said the path is a public right of way but Calderdale Council’s rights of way officer has said there is no record suggesting this is the case.

“It’s a right of way if it has been used as such for 20 years,” Coun McManus said.

Madeleine Hoyle, who owns the Todmorden Vintner with her husband Nick, said they keep the gate open as much as they can but there has been a spate of vandalism in recent months and they regularly have to clear rubbish from the gardens.

On the advice of their insurance company and the police, they locked the gate while away on holiday over the bank holiday weekend.

“We have no problem with people using our gardens as a shortcut, even people who have not supported us as customers,” Mrs Hoyle said.

“But burglaries and vandalism have cost us a fortune.

“We don’t want to offend anybody. The important thing is it’s private property.

“For Coun McManus to put a note under the door is very upsetting and distressing for us and gives the impression that we are the bad guys and are doing something wrong.”

In response, Coun McManus said: “There is no lack of sympathy with the owners of the building but it’s up to them to employ a night watchman when they are away.”

He is pursuing the matter with Calderdale Council to attempt to get the path recognised as a right of way.