Walkers can use shortcut

The bridge at the Kingswood Dearne Valley Centre

The bridge at the Kingswood Dearne Valley Centre

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The owners of the former Earth Centre site have reassured walkers that they can still use the footbridge across the River Don to get to the Trans-Pennine Trail.

Kingswood recently put up signs warning that the bridge and the footpath were not a public right of way, sparking fears that they were planning to stop people from crossing the site to get to the Trans-Pennine trail beyond.

Partially-sighted walker Michael Pursehouse, 43, of Tickhill Square, Denaby told the Times:

“Normally I go over there three times a week on the trail. I know I’m not going to bump into anything and I can let my dog off for a run with a bell on her collar.

“I can’t see what right they have to stop people walking there. For years it has been a public right of way.

“I wouldn’t be able to see the sign anyway. I’m not totally blind. For me to get onto the Pennine Trail from elsewhere I have to walk down Pastures Road which is half an hour’s walk from here.

“Otherwise I would have to go up Doncaster Road by the Water Tower and that is at least an hour’s trek”.

A spokesman for Kingswood said: “There is a permissive right of way only across the main approach bridge to the centre and the new signs we are erecting will reinforce this and protect the legal position of both Kingswood and British Waterways who own the rights of the space over the River Don.

“As we have stated since we became interested in the centre we have no intention of ‘stopping’ this right of way and are more than happy for the local community to continue to use the bridge as an approach to the TPT, all we have asked in return is that they do not allow their dogs to foul the bridge - something which does still happen.

“We will have to close the bridge for maintenance inspections for approximately two days per year but this is a requirement of British Waterways to ensure that integrity of the bridge and as such we cannot allow members of the public to come into contact with the plant that will be required for the inspections.”