Couple have tyres slashed after gating public footpath
Ted Peskett – Local Democracy Reporter
A Barry couple have had the tyres on their vehicle slashed after gating a public footpath on their property, which they have been trying to get rid of for two decades.
Jean and Graham Underdown have spent 20 years trying to get the footpath going across their driveway in Clos Cwm Barri deleted and allege they have faced other instances of vandalism, including having rocks and a breeze block thrown at their cars.
Mud and dog mess is often left on their driveway, the couple said, and their attempts to block the footpath have resulted in further upset.
The Underdowns claim their privacy is being infringed, but many residents point to Vale of Glamorgan Council’s multiple refusals for the foopath to be deleted and say they are frustrated with their right to walk across it being hindered.
South Wales Police said they received a report of criminal damage to a car on Clos Cwm Barri during the early hours of Tuesday, October 10.
On her and Graham’s experience of living next to the footpath, Jean said: “Some people like to walk over and have a look at what I am growing in the garden and things like that. It is intrusive.
“We came here thinking: ‘Right, we have got a private drive. We will not have every Tom, Dick, and Harry walking through our property.’ But that is exactly what happened.”
Jean and Graham bought the property in 1999.
Taylor Wimpey obtained planning permission to build new homes at Cwm Barry Farm off Pontypridd Road in 1994.
As part of an agreement between Vale of Glamorgan Council and the developers, a vehicle access point was created where the footpath, called Footpath 73, crosses from the Underdowns’ driveway and into the nearby field.
This was for the maintenance of Porthkerry Country Park. A council report states there was a requirement for a pedestrian access to also be provided, but this did not happen.
An application for a public right of way was made in 1999 and the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s order for the creation of Footpath 73 was confirmed in 2003.
The council refused an application for Footpath 73 to be deleted at a meeting in September.
The local authority argued it had already been used as a public right of way for more than 20 years.
However, Jean disputed this. She said: “I am a fourth generation brought up in this area.
“My ancestors came to Barry in the late 1800s and we have been here ever since and I know there was no footpath over these fields ever.”
A council spokesperson said: “This matter was considered in detail, as was the comprehensive documentation submitted, at the meeting of the council’s public rights of way sub-committee.
“The committee determined that the application to delete the footpath as recorded on the definitive map be declined.
“The applicant has the right to appeal this decision. We understand this is currently being considered.”
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