There will be no appeal by the Parish Council to a decision by Oxfordshire County Council to refuse permission for a change in status of Northfield Lane from a footpath to a bridleway.
At the September meeting of the Parish Council, Tom Bowtell, who was chairman at the time of the original application in 2013, said that the reason for the application was that there had been conflict between horse riders and farm traffic, but since then the issue appeared to have been resolved.
The county council’s Countryside Records department decided not to approve the application on the grounds that there was insufficient and “sporadic” use made of the route.
Opinions are divided on the issue. Some argue that a change would give more flexibility for users but others believe the route should remain a footpath. They say that the current arrangement has worked well for many years and believe that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
Seven years ago, part of the route from Little Wittenham Road to Northfield Farm was re-surfaced because it was badly pot-holed. Residents, farmers, Thames Water and the Parish Council contributed towards the cost. The route from the farm to the river and Thames Footpath has a grass surface and is used by the farm to access fields.
The Parish Council decided that if users of Northfield Lane are content with the current status, then it would not appeal the county’s decision.