AN APPLICATION to recognise a footpath through All Saints’ School grounds as a public right of way has been dismissed.

Dorset councillors decided that the path, from Sunnyside Road to Rylands Lane in Wyke Regis, will not be added to the official map of footpaths in the area.

The application to add it to the definitive map had come from resident Claire Price who claimed to have used the route, along with others, over a number of years, until the school locked its gates around 2005 at the time when a sports hall was being built on the course of the path resulting in the original route then being diverted.

Signs put out by the school, around that time, had said that people could use the route when the gates were open, but that it was not a public right of way.

A Dorset Council strategic planning committee heard yesterday on Monday that the arguments to meet the test of being added to the definitive map of the area were complex and that although people may have used the route, it was with the school’s permission, not as a right.

Dorset Echo: All Saints School - disputed routeAll Saints School - disputed route

Ward councillor Brian Heatley said he and the other two local councillors supported Dorset Council and the school’s position not to have the route added to the map.

He said that with an alternative route just yards away, towards the bottom of the school playing fields, there was no need for the route to be recognised and that school security should also be considered.

Councillors heard that evidence was taken from 36 users of the route and that there had been a previous application to add the route to the map, although that had been later withdrawn.

Dorset Echo: All Saints School - disputed route

The committee heard that old maps and documents fail to show all of the route claimed, although a 1959 map shows part of the route. Other documents showed sections of the route although there was not sufficient evidence to prove the route was, effectively, a right of way.

The land is owned by Dorset Council and since June 2019 has been leased to Ambitions Academies Trust.