Torquay Queensway residents vow to fight footpath closure
QUEENSWAY residents campaigning to re-open a well-used footpath have been told it will stay closed.
The shortcut, which runs alongside Torquay Girls' Grammar School from Queensway through to Shiphay, was gated off last month after claims of 'undesirables' in the area.
Since then, residents who say they have used the path for decades, have met with the school to discuss their concerns, but they have been told the school governors have voted to keep the footpath closed.
Sharon Wallwork, the school's director of finances and resources, said: "There will be no change. It will be closed for the foreseeable future, but it will be reviewed again in the summer."
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The move has been criticised by ward councillor Mark Poutney.
He said residents intend to make an application to have the route, which is on school premises, to be designated as a right of way.
He said: "The response from TGGS is very disappointing to say the least. They seem to have not taken on board any of the points the local residents have made.
"Longer term, the governors failed to make any comment on the future opening of the pathway, which sends a clear message to the community that the school is not concerned about its neighbours."
The governors considered residents' concerns when they discussed the matter at their recent meeting.
They decided the health, safety and security of the students and staff was their primary responsibility and, as they were also liable for accidents on school land, the path should remain closed.
Ms Wallwork said the school would object to any application for a right of way on the land.
She said if it was re-opened then the school would apply for it to be extinguished due to security reasons — a provision open to schools under the Highways Act. She said the matter may be referred to the secretary of state and could result in a public inquiry: "We expect the process to take some time."