Campaigners say a county council should stop shilly-shallying and map paths that should have been recorded more than a quarter of a century ago.
The Open Spaces Society says Suffolk County Council still hasn’t produced an official map of its public paths, despite a law demanding it do so being passed 27 years ago. This denies residents and visitors rights enjoyed in the rest of the country.
Pete Turtill, the society’s representative in Ipswich, will meet councillors next month to discuss the problem. He has also enlisted the help of local MP Chris Mole.
Mr Turtill said: “For years the people of Ipswich have been denied their rights to walk the many paths in the town and its surrounding countryside, because the council has failed to record them on the official map, and no one knows they exist.
“Yet they are highways in law, just like any road. Many routes have been engulfed by development and can never be retrieved. We want the remainder to be properly recorded before it’s too late.
“In 1981 a law was passed requiring the highway authorities to produce an official map in former county boroughs, such as Ipswich, which before this had been exempted. 27 years on that map has still to appear.
“Many paths in Ipswich are gated, fenced or even built over. It is distressing for people to find that a place they have used all their lives, and their parents before them, is suddenly blocked off. We need to get those paths recorded and thereby safeguarded.”
He says nothing ever happens when he submits a path for inclusion on the official map.
‘The Open Spaces Society is adamant that an official map of paths in Ipswich Borough should be prepared at once and the council should stop shilly-shallying,” he adds.