Campaign to preserve footpath

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A campaign has been launched against plans to turn a footpath used by schoolchildren to reach their playing fields into a road serving a new development of up-market houses.

The path is used daily by hundreds of Dronfield students. It is the only access from Henry Fanshawe School to the school sports fields, and has been pedestrian-only for more than half a century.

But now developers want to build seven six-bedroom houses, including one with a cinema room, gym and games room, on agricultural land between the school and its playing fields, turning the path into a road.

The path is also the pedestrian entrance the town’s main park, Cliffe Park. The proposal is being opposed by the school governors, Dronfield Town Council, Dronfield Civic Society and local residents.

One resident, Phil Andrews, of Green Lane, said: “Parents of students at the school may not be aware of this scheme and the dangers it could pose to their children and to park users. They can object to North East Derbyshire District Council, who will consider the planning application next month.”

The new road would emerge on Green Lane, one of the busiest in the town, immediately opposite the two main school entrances. Hundreds of students would have to cross the junction on their way to and from school. The school governors have told the council: “Upwards of 100 students are escorted along this path and PE staff are very concerned about their ability to ensure the students’ safety.”

Dronfield Civic Society says: “Traffic from this site would add significantly to congestion and be a danger to pedestrians using Green Lane.”

Previous attempts to develop the land via Park Avenue have been shelved because residents would not allow access over their private road.