MORE than 40 residents gathered in a park to protest against a council plan to grant planning permission for a new path in the park.
The protesters say Cheshire West and Chester Council broke covenants on Alexandra Park in Hoole.
They claim the council did not have the power to grant planning permission for building a small path from the back of St Martin’s Academy and connects to the rest of the park’s pathways.
The protesters are also angry about the sale of the Lodge in the park and say the council acted unlawfully by selling it.
Gerald Kelly, who organised the protest, said: “Alexandra Park is protected by covenants which give local people the right to enjoy the whole park, including the bit the council have ‘top-sliced’ and sold off.”
He also said – according to legal advice the group received – the council did not have the planning power to make the new path and if it went ahead it would create a new right of way for the public through the grounds of the new school to Hoole Road.
But CWaC has hit back, maintaining it has not done anything wrong.
The authority has also questioned the legal advice given to the protesters.
A council spokesman said: “This authority is satisfied covenants do not prevent the sale of the lodge or the creation of a pathway which connects to the school.
“The council understands some local residents have taken legal advice on the matter, but has only been shown part of that advice.
“From what we have seen, it would seem the advice is fundamentally flawed.
“This is because the advice assumes the paths in the park are Public Rights of Way.
“They are in fact simply a network of pathways set out to provide convenient access to and through various areas of the park, when the park is open to the public.
“As the layout and needs of the park and its users change, so can the layout of the paths within the park to ensure that the green space can be used and enjoyed by all.
“Let it be clear that this council is looking to continue to increase usage of the local green space, securing the future of the park as a vibrant community asset and has no plans whatsoever to ‘sell off’ the green space land of Alexandra Park.”
The council said the Lodge had never been in public use and was sold over a year ago to a private homeowner.
See full story in the Chester Leader