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Footpath wrangle could cost school £100,000

The pathway, which runs from Milverton Road to Station Road in Knowle and crosses part of the school site, had been closed by Arden since 2008 following safety and security issues

Arden Academy in Knowle
Arden Academy in Knowle

Arden Academy has had to employ a security guard to shepherd ramblers across a public footpath that cuts across the school grounds.

The pathway, which runs from Milverton Road to Station Road in Knowle and crosses part of the school site, had been closed by Arden since 2008 following safety and security issues.

But many locals used the track as a convenient route between the village and the Milverton Road area and they appealed to the Planning Inspectorate to reinstate the route as a Public Right of Way.

In April this year, a ruling was made in favour of walkers and Solihull Council was instructed to ensure free access was reinstated.

But the decision has come at a cost as outlined in a letter to parents this week.

Academy Principal Martin Murphy explained governors and the local authority have employed a security guard from Monday to Saturday, between 8.45 and 6pm, to open the gates and escort those who want to use the route.

Mr Murphy said: “This...is at considerable cost to the school and Solihull Council who are supporting us in manning this short term solution [some £2,000 per month].

“This is sadly using up much needed educational resources.

“I am now seeking governing body approval to apply for a diversion order to reroute the footpath to a suitable location.

“The estimated cost ....is approximately £100,000.”

A spokesperson for Solihull Council said: “A public right of way exists though the grounds of Arden Academy and the school has carried out a risk assessment to determine how best to manage this.

“It is not appropriate for us to comment on the measures that the school has chosen to put in place with regards to the security of its pupils and buildings.”

l What do you think? Should walkers have the right of way or have to find another route round? Email solihull_news@mrn.co.uk

 

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